Definition of Done

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Definition of Done

In any organization, there can be varying definitions of the word ''done.'' Which one is the right one? Is there such a thing?

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definition of done

Is it Done, is it Done Done, or is it Done Done Done?

I bet you’ve asked that question before if you are in the business of application development. When asking the questions, it is important to note who you are and what level you're in the organization. Delivery teams, program teams, and portfolio teams define done differently. What we need is a clear definition of done at each level of the organization.

Definition of Done

The definition of done (DoD) is when all conditions (acceptance criteria) that a software product must satisfy are met, to be accepted by a user, customer, team, or consuming system.  We must meet the definition of done to ensure quality.  It lowers rework, by preventing user stories that do not meet the definition from being promoted to higher level environments. It will prevent features not meeting the definition from being delivered to the customer or user.

User Stories

The most common use of the Definition of Done is on the delivery team level.  Done on this level means the Product Owner reviewed and accepted the user story. Once accepted, the done user story will contribute to the team velocity. Meet all of the defined criteria or the user story is not done.

The below examples might be included in the User Story DoD:

  • Unit tests passed
  • Code reviewed
  • Acceptance criteria met
  • Functional Tests passed
  • Non-Functional requirements met
  • Product Owner accepts the User Story


Done on this level may mean it qualifies to add to a release.  Not all user stories need to be completed. Rather, it means the feature may be sufficient to satisfy the need. Once accepted, the done feature will contribute to the release velocity.  Meet all of the defined criteria or the feature is not done.

The below examples might be included in the Feature DoD:

  • Acceptance criteria met
  • Integrated into a clean build
  • Promoted to higher level environment
  • Automated regression tests pass
  • Feature level functional tests passed
  • Non-Functional requirements met
  • Meets compliance requirements
  • Functionality documented in necessary user documentation


Done on this level may refer to an organizational strategic priority, portfolio plan item, or some other collection of features that satisfied a market need.  Not all user stories or features need to be completed. Rather, the epic may be sufficient to satisfy the need. Once accepted, the done epic will contribute to throughput calculations to see if the supply is in balance with demand.

The below examples might be included in the Epic DoD:

  • Non-Functional requirements met
  • End-to-end integration completed
  • Regression tests pass
  • Promoted to production environment
  • Meets defined market expectations


Just as the Definition of Ready is super important, so is the Definition of Done. Never start work on something until you have agreed on the definition. Be consistent. Be clear. Have a shared understanding.

agile, criteria, defition of done, dod, user stories

Published at DZone with permission of Derek Huether , DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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