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Definition of Done at Two Levels

The DoD at the task level and the product backlog item level

22 September 2015

Kaushik Saha
Virtusa Consulting and Services Ltd. (Deputed at client place AMERICAN EXPRESS)

Scrum teams are often confused about the term Definition of Done (DoD) and what it means at various levels of a project.

Teams should concentrate first on the DoD at the task level. Get these items done first. The team can make up and follow a useful checklist, as below.

Task-level DoD
  • Unit testing is complete.
  • Peer review is complete.
  • The item has been checked into source control.
  • Checked-in code doesn't break the build.
  • The task board has been updated and the remaining time needed for each task is at zero.
At the level of product backlog items, the team should think a little more broadly. First make sure all the tasks under a particular story are at Done, and then verify that all items on the checklist below have also been met.

Product Backlog Item (PBI) DoD
  • All acceptance criteria have been met.
  • Automated acceptance tests confirm that the new feature works as expected.
  • All regression tests verify successful integration with other functions.
  • Any relevant build/deploy scripts have been modified and tested.
  • Working functionality has been reviewed and accepted by the product owner.
  • End-user documentation has been written and reviewed (if required).


Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

Article Rating

Current rating: 3.3 (3 ratings)


Tim Baffa, CSM, 9/22/2015 11:55:38 AM

I don't really see the purpose of a task-based DoD. Why promote the idea of different DoD's based on the stage an item is in for a project? Isn't this just another phased view of work?

While many of your criteria around DoD are good, I would use them to create a single DoD, based on what a team can complete during a sprint, and is agreed with by the business.
Olivier LEDRU, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 9/23/2015 8:27:10 AM
I feel a little bit confused because, as far as I understand, the DOD applies to the increment.
Also, the task level seems irrelevant with the way my co-worker shape their task.
Coding-tasks are just a special case.
Kaushik Saha, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 11/25/2015 7:49:20 AM
Hi Guys,

I would like to bring attention to development team the checklists they should maintain to do their tasks complete.

It's completely practical approach to have Task Level DoD ; rather than theoretical concept on DoD at story level.

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