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Definition of Done Canvas

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Definition of Done Canvas

Rumors persist that the Definition of Done (DoD) will move from enabling artifact transparency to becoming a primary artifact on its own. Why?

· Agile Zone ·
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Rumors persist that in the next version of the Scrum Guide [1] the Definition of “Done” (DoD) will move from enabling artifact transparency to becoming a primary artifact in its own right.

This leads us to the article I presented on the transparency concept of MuHinShu, where the outcome is the “information to flow associatively, as in a semi-lattice.” [2]

As the Scrum Guide states …

“Those performing the work and those inspecting the resulting increment must share a common definition of "Done".[3]

Therefore to support the catalyzation in this flow of information transparency here I present a Definition of "Done" Canvas tool [4] that Scrum teams can leverage for their empirical process control:definition of done canvas tool

The canvas is freely available under the open-source Creative Commons license [5] so that you too can use this with any of your Scrum teams.

Why a DoD Canvas?

The original canvas I believe was called the “Business Model Canvas” developed by Alexander Osterwalder in his blog in 2008 [6].  Here he states that the canvas is a way of describing this as a ...

“business model is nothing else than a representation of how an organization makes (or intends to make) money.”

And a crude rudimentary Internet search shows us that there seems to be no evidence of an existing DoD canvas. Albeit the search was rudimentary so, please feel free to share it.

Therefore I have created a new one for the DoD so that Scrum teams can leverage this Canvas to represent their Definition of "Done" as a simple artifact of transparency.  If it is not of value then hopefully it will provoke some thoughts on how you would like to represent your DoD even if you don’t use this canvas.

A DoD Canvas is suitable for this purpose because ... 

“New definitions, as used, may uncover work to be done in previously "Done" increments. Any one product or system should have a definition of "Done" that is a standard for any work done on it.” [1].

As the DoD is dynamic and is expected to change, therefore a DoD Canvas is a suitable way of enabling maturity towards new definitions as it is as simple as changing the stickies upon the canvas without affecting the rest of the DoD.

It should be noted that the Canvas supports multiple teams working upon the same Product. As per the Scrum Guide …

“If there are multiple Scrum Teams working on the system or product release, the Development Teams on all the Scrum Teams must mutually define the definition of "Done".” [1].

Let’s take a look at the sections on this DoD Canvas to understand how they could possibly be used for your Scrum teams ...

TEAM NAME:

team name examples

To make it visible we need to know which Development Team owns this DoD. And also enable multiple teams to own the DoD as above. This helps to make it clear that only they should be the ones who define and change this DoD.

REVIEW DATE:

review date example

“The same definition guides the Development Team in knowing how many Product Backlog items it can select during a Sprint Planning.” [1]

From the statement in the Scrum Guide, we can observe that Scrum teams should look at the DoD even at the start of the Sprint in Planning. Otherwise, they may not be sure that they can deliver the work items and a product increment as “Done”.

In addition, this may not be the only time they review their DoD as teams. A team member or ScrumMaster here might want to point out to the teams during a Sprint if they have not reviewed the DoD together for a while.

ADAPTED DATE:

adapted date example (when the team last improved the DoD together

“As Scrum Teams mature, it is expected that their definitions of "Done" will expand to include more stringent criteria for higher quality.” [1].

We can observe here that the DoD is an evolving entity. Though anyone can see the DoD during a Sprint, it is good to know when the team(s) have adapted it together and when that last happened, which can be anytime as insights and learnings are discovered.

If a team member or ScrumMaster notices that the ADAPTED DATE has not changed in a while this can be a sign that the teams may not be maturing. Here the Scrum Guide can provide some help too ...

“During each Sprint Retrospective, the Scrum Team plans ways to increase product quality by improving work processes or adapting the definition of "Done" [7].

It should be noted that this is an option, one can adapt the DoD at any time and should not be a process of following Scrum for the sake of it. This anti-pattern is sometimes known as Zombie Scrum [8].

“DONE” BENCHMARK:

done benchmark example

“This is the definition of "Done" for the Scrum Team and is used to assess when work is complete on the product Increment.” [1].

I have used the word Benchmark [9] as a way for the teams to compare work items and product increments to the DoD, rather than using the word as a way of comparing the performance of the teams. This is never the intention. I feel this should be explicitly stated so the term is not lost in Semantic Diffusion [10]. 

ROBUST RATING:

robust rating out of 5 stars

I often feel that people tend to get lost in the process of creating a DoD rather than following the first and foremost Agile Manifesto value of … 

“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools” [11].

So, to promote this in the Canvas I would like to see how the team “feels” about their DoD. Do they feel they have great confidence in it? Is it strong and healthy? Maybe over time, the robustness rating they feel about it goes up or down? What does this show us?

A savvy ScrumMaster can also leverage this for ...

“Working with other Scrum Masters to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization.” [12].

entire DoD canvas screenshot

Summary

For tangible usage, the DoD Canvas could be placed in online tools such as Mural, Miro, Jamboard, MS Teams etc to be used virtually for distributed teams.

Or printed out and placed upon a wall with real stickies, for those teams fortunate enough to be co-located in the same physical open space.

With the DoD Canvas in alignment to the Scrum Framework, we can observe that Scrum Teams can use this to transparently inspect and adapt their DoD. As they continuously improve their understanding of what it means to be “Done” for them, their work and how they feel about it.

With Special Thanks

To those referenced below and especially John Barratt for helping me to define this way of working at Agile Affinity [13], and contributing to this article. If you would like to talk in more detail on the topic email us on or even better comment below!

References

  1. Scrum Guide - Definition of "Done" - by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland 2017
  2. Agile Coaching With MuHinShu - by Rickard Jones & John Barratt 2019
  3. Scrum Guide - Scrum Theory - by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland 2017
  4. DoD Canvas PDF - by Rickard Jones & John Barratt 2020
  5. Creative Commons - from 2001
  6. Business Model Canvas - by Alex Osterwalder 2008
  7. Scrum Guide - Sprint Retrospective - by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland 2017
  8. Zombie Scrum Teams! - by Daniel Mezick 2010
  9. Benchmark definition
  10. Semantic Diffusion - by Martin Fowler 2006
  11. Manifesto for Agile Software Development by Kent Beck et al 2001
  12. Scrum Guide - The ScrumMaster - by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland 2017
  13. Agile Affinity - by Rickard Jones & John Barratt 2019
Topics:
acceptance criteria, agile manifesto, agile scrum, business model canvas, canvas, definition of done, dod, muhinshu, scrum framework

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