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The Definition of Ready

10 August 2017

Atul Kumar Sinha
IBM, Capgemini

The Definition of Ready is considered along much the same lines as the Definition of Done. Here are some basic working practices concerning the DoR.

What is the DoR?

  • It is a working agreement between the team and the product owner about what "ready" means in a given situation.
  • It includes criteria for planning a story in a sprint.
  • It provides a way for the product owner to indicate that an item in the product backlog is ready to work on in the sprint.
  • It should be aligned with the INVEST model (it should be independent/negotiable/valuable/estimable/small/testable)

The DoR for a product backlog

The product backlog is "ready" when about one to two sprint's worth of user stories at the top of the backlog are "ready."

The DoR for a user story

  • The user story is defined
  • Acceptance criteria are defined
  • Dependencies are identified
  • The story has been sized by the delivery team
  • The Scrum Team accepts any UX artifacts
  • Performance criteria are identified (if applicable)
  • The person who is accepting the user story is identified
  • The team has good ideas about how to demo

The DoR for a sprint

  • The sprint backlog is prioritized
  • It contains all defects, user stories, and other work that has been committed to
  • There is no hidden work
  • Other work may include lab set-up, build environment maintenance, creating a test app, etc.
  • All team members have calculated their capacity

Why should we have a DoR?

  • It keeps team members accountable to each other
  • It reduces pressure on the team to commit to estimates before user stories are actually ready to work on (estimatible)
  • It reduces "requirement churn" in development
  • A poorly developed and poorly understood story often creates roadblocks
  • A story without proper information backing it often, at best, leads to rework — or, at worst, to work that goes in the completely wrong direction
A properly constructed DoR saves the team time and effort and generally leads to a better result.

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.

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