Daily stand-up checklist, part III. – Agreements, Definitions of Done & Ready
This article is the continuation of The Daily Stand-up Checklist for ScrumMasters, part II. The aim of this series of articles is to help ScrumMasters to prepare better for daily stand-up so it is efficient, productive and engaging. These tips are based on our observation of 100+ agile teams in their agile transformations.
To get things working fast, regular and often in a self-organized team, Agile is based on agreements of all people involved in the product development.
The self-organized agile team without a manager behaves must based on agreed rules.
ScrumMaster hence has to be sure if agreements and team rules are applied constantly. If not, maybe they should be discussed, challenged or forgotten.
Definition of Ready
The first such typical rule is Definition of Ready. It is a checklist which must be fulfilled so your product owner knows when user story or other backlog item is ready for the team to be planned, estimated and developed. Definition of Ready significantly helps prepare requirements in more details thoroughly. The benefit will be requirements done fast without necessary additional fix rounds.
An example of Definition of Ready being prepared for different backlog item types
In ScrumDesk our team doesn’t start developing user story if it is not recognized by the team as ready. If it is not ready, the product owner mandatory has to remove such backlog item from the sprint backlog. The reason is simple, we do not want to develop waste that might be changed very early because of a sudden change of opinion of the product owner. Therefore in ScrumDesk team members can mark user story as ready.
The team can mark user story in the sprint backlog as ready by one click
Definition of Done
The other part of the product development is a question of when the requirement is really done. Agile teams have an agreement called Definition of Done which is the checklist of activities that we want to follow during the development of the product.
An example of Definition of Done:
a requirement to be analyzed,
unit tests are written as well,
documentation is updated,
a code is merged into trunk,
regression tests are green,
the results are published on preproduction stage,
the results are accepted by the product owner.
This list might contain also non-functional attributes like quality, speed, etc. Definition of Done should be checked in the sprint planning and review sessions.
In ScrumDesk such DoD is implemented as Story Template where you can specify subtask types for all new user stories. That way you will keep your sprint backlog and development approach consistently.
To prepare DoD ScrumMaster might arrange workshop where people can express their opinion in a form similar to the picture below. All such cards are then sorted, filtered and grouped to identify similar ideas and to define the agreement about Definition of Done.
How to prepare Definition of Done in workshop
There might be many Definitions of Done either per backlog item type or per sprint, release or production.
ScrumMaster is just the reminder to the team to check if all necessary parts of DoD have been applied.
Not all parts make sense in all cases.
Make violations transparent!
Except those two definitions teams have very often additional agreements, i.e. how many subtasks can be in progress (WIP limit).
The team should be aware that rules were broken. ScrumMaster should make that situation transparent. Very often by the visual indicator on the Kanban board. After the retrospective team might agree on some change of rules and such flag on Kanban board can be very helpful in the building of a discipline.
ScrumMasters should observe the system, the work and the team from end to end perspective. To see whole value stream. With that in mind, new agreements might become necessary to introduce, some of them will not be applicable anymore, many of them will be necessary to update.