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Software Development Project Management Agile
January 31, 2023 - Jon A.

What is the Definition of Done and Why Does it Matter?

In an agile software development environment, work can effectively continue forever if the work is not clearly defined. The product owner has worked to put together a strategic roadmap, and the development team has split that into releases and sprints. But what defines the task and project completion? The definition of done.

The Definition of Done (DoD) is a set of criteria that must be met before a project or task can be considered complete by the team. It helps to ensure that the work is done correctly and to the highest standards, and it also helps to ensure that any problems are identified and addressed quickly.

By having a Definition of Done in place, teams can focus on efficiently delivering quality results. It allows teams to have a consistent, clearly communicated understanding of what is expected from them when completing tasks.

How to Create a Detailed Definition of Done with Your Team

With a clear DoD, teams can work more efficiently and effectively, delivering projects on time with fewer errors or issues. By defining the scope and expectations of each task, teams can better manage their workloads.

A well-defined DoD will also help minimize misunderstandings between team members and stakeholders, resulting in improved communication and collaboration. It’s important that the team work on the DoD together, getting buy-in from the stakeholders after it is created.

Understanding the Different Components That Make Up a Definition Of Done Document

A DoD can look differently depending on what the team is working on, whether it be a task, user story release, or project. Below we’ve listed a few examples of components that could be part of your team’s DoD. Keep in mind, these should be worked out as a team and should be fairly unique for the team and the project.

User Stories

  • Acceptance criteria met
  • Unit tests passed
  • Functional tests passed
  • Product owner accepts the story

Software Releases

  • Integrated into the existing software
  • Functional tests passed
  • Meets compliance requirements
  • Functionality documented in user documentation


  • End-to-end integration completed
  • Promoted to production environment
  • Meets defined product expectations

The Benefits and Challenges of a Definition of Done

Adopting a definition of done (DoD) can benefit an organization and a development team. When the DoD is used appropriately, teams can find increased productivity, improved quality assurance, and better communication between teams.

However, there are also some challenges associated with adopting a DoD that should be taken into consideration. These challenges include the need for training and resources to ensure that everyone understands the definition and can comply with it. Additionally, the DoD must be regularly reviewed and updated to remain relevant in an ever-changing business environment.

By understanding both the benefits and challenges associated with adopting a DoD, organizations can make more informed decisions about whether or not this approach is right for their business.


planning sticky notes
December 22, 2022 - Jon A.

The Agile Planning Onion Revealed