What is “Done” in a Sprint?

When discussing Scrum Sprints, we mention the importance of establishing the Definition of Done for each Sprint. Since each phase is designed to let the team create a fully functioning releasable product at the end of each Sprint, it is absolutely vital to have a clear definition of what will mark the completion of the Sprint prior to beginning any work. Today, we’ll take a look at how the definition determines the scope of work completed.

Establishes Conditions

When laying out the work for each Sprint, the Scrum Team should have a clear idea of what needs to be accomplished within the Sprint. The definition of done for each project lays out the requirements and establishes the conditions that must be met in order for the Sprint to be successfully completed.

Definition of Done Varies Across Projects

Contrary to popular belief, there is not one single Definition of Done that can be used across all projects at all times. The Definition of Done varies based on individual project goals and different stages of the Scrum project. While the overarching concept of the Definition of Done lays the foundation for required steps in each Sprint, certain projects will have different needs and different requirements at each stage. The Definition of Done will change and progress as the project progresses.

Definition of Done Done

When a project is considered “Done Done,” the Sprint is completely finished. In this instance, the project is ready to be released. A definition of “Done Done” only happens when all of the requirements are met and the team can do no further work on the project during the current Sprint. This is the ultimate goal in each Sprint.

Multiple Definitions of Done

Regardless of the type of project, your Scrum Team is working on, you may want to consider breaking the project down into multiple definitions of “Done.” While this may seem counterintuitive, having multiple definitions allows the project to be broken down into more stages, giving your team more time to spend improving each phase. While the overall process may take longer, it can result in higher quality work being produced in each Sprint. A typical arrangement for multiple definitions is as follows:

  • Initial programming is finished and passes testing
  • Further components are added to program and integrated into existing software
  • Enriched program passes additional testing
  • Program is ready for release and has achieved full approval from the shareholders

Giving your team multiple definitions of what a completed phase is can improve their focus, their motivation, and the overall quality of the work. That said, multiple definitions are rarely used in most Scrum and Agile workplaces, as the teams are able to complete full-scale Sprints without difficulty.

Every Project is Different

No matter how many times your team runs a Sprint, the Definition of Done will never be the same. Each program has different variables, making it impossible to set a standardized definition. However, be sure your team understands what is expected of them during each Sprint. Failure to do so can result in undesirable delays and unnecessary confusion.

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