What is Definition of Ready in Scrum?

From time to time, end users will have ideas or concepts for a new feature. The concept will be expressed as one or more feature items, and get added to a product backlog by the product owner. The team, working together, will figure out how to turn this concept, expressed as one or more epics and subsequently refined them into smaller and clearer user stories as a real product feature to be included in the next sprint for implementation.

The product owner could work together with the team to define an artifact called “the definition of Ready” for ensuring that items at the top of the backlog are ready to be moved into a sprint so that the development team can confidently commit and complete them by the end of a sprint.

Definition of Ready

Why Definition of Ready?

The Definition of Ready is a set of agreements that lets everyone know when something is ready to begin, e.g., when a user story is ready to be taken into a sprint, or when all necessary conditions are right for a team to start a sprint. An appropriate definition of ready will substantially improve the Scrum team’s chance of successfully meeting its sprint goal. Here is a list of benefits that a properly structured DoR can bring to teams:

  • Measure a backlog item’s “ready” state
  • Ensure that product backlog items have been thought through “just enough”
  • Help the team identify when the product owner or another team member becomes overwhelmed
  • Keep the team accountable to each other
  • Reduce pressure on the team to commit to estimates before stories are “Ready”
  • Reduce “requirements churn” in development

Example – Definition of Ready for a Sprint

Different teams will have different Dentition of Ready, and some require less. i.e., some teams just describe the value to the user, prioritize, and write how to demo. Other estimates and communication are in the sprint planning meeting and etc.  Here is the sample items to be considered for developing DORs for your team:

  • The Sprint Backlog is prioritized
  • The Spring Backlog contains all defects, User Stories and other work that the team is committing to
  • No hidden work
  • All team members have calculated their capacity for the Sprint
  • Fulltime on project = X hours per day
  • All User Stories meet Definition of Ready

Example – Definition of Ready for a User Story

This section shows a sample Definition of Ready for a user story, and a sample Definition of Ready for a Sprint. You can adopt some of these as baselines or starting points:

  • The value of Story to the user is clearly indicated.
  • The acceptance criteria for Story have been clearly described.
  • User Story dependencies identified
  • User Story sized by Delivery Team
  • Scrum Team accepts User Experience artifacts
  • Performance criteria identified, where appropriate
  • Person who will accept the User Story is identified
  • The team knows how to demo the story.

Summary

The term “Definition of Ready” isn’t described in the Scrum Guide and same as user stories and the Acceptance Criteria embedded in it. Perhaps, you may consider the Definition of Ready is an integral part of the backlog refinement activity, instead of using the Definition of Ready as a sequential and phase-gate checklist. Backlog refinement is an ongoing process, therefore it’s not restricted to an event but considered an activity.

About Visual Paradigm
Visual Paradigm help organizations stay competitive and responsive to change faster and better in today’s fast changing environment. Our award-winning products are trusted by over 320,000 users in companies ranging from small business, consultants, to blue chip organizations, universities and government units across the globe. It enables organizations to improve business and IT agility and foster innovation through popular open standards and process frameworks.Visual Paradigm, a killer Agile feature in 2018, introduced Scrum Process Canvas for automating the way a Scrum team to create, manage and deploy software application that empowers the team to continuously improve their performance at unprecedented speed and scale.

Manage the Entire Scrum Process in One Page

  • Automate the Scrum Framework in a fun and enjoyable dashboard with eye-catching updated status.
  • Manage Backlog, Multiple Sprints of different Scrum Roles with a single-page visually executable canvas
  • Allow instantly access, review and generate scrum artifacts and related documents to be archived in the Shared Cabinet
  • Automate the Scrum events and related activities with self-explanatory instructions, samples and required document templates.