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Definition of Done – DoD – The Ultimate Guide For Leaders

The Definition Of Done is the exit criteria that is used to determine whether a product backlog item is complete. The definition of “done” may vary from one Agile Team to another, but it must be consistent within one team.

Definition of Done

Agile Software Development has been an efficient way to develop digital products during the last few years, but we think it’s not enough for your company to become a great Digital Product Company. The ADAPT Methodology® is an unique Digital Product Development framework to guarantee the success of Leaders in the Digital Era!


Society changed and leaders need support in the way how they lead and design their digital product organizations, that is the reason why the ADAPT Methodology® was created, but now let’s get a deep dive into the Definition Of Done (DoD).

The Wikipedia defines Definition of Done (DoD) as follows:

Definition of Done is the exit criteria to determine whether a product backlog item is complete. In many cases, the DoD requires that all regression tests should be successful. The definition of “done” may vary from one Scrum team to another, but must be consistent with one team.”

When a Scrum Master joins an Agile Team, one of the most common exercises that he should help the team with is the Definition of Done Checklist.


The Scrum Master should help the team to come up with their Definition of Done (DoD), but in the end, he should challenge their DoD, making them think a bit.


For me is clear that a story is only Done when all the topics of the DoD list are met, and the build is Green.


Below you have a picture describing what I mean. And of course, the team is always trying to move items from the outside Box into the Green Build Policy box.




Below I am listing 15 items that teams might or might not want to include on their DoD. Some of these items are more challenging than others, but this is just a basic list of ideas that can help the teams to define their own DoD, a general guideline; feel free to pick and choose those that best apply to your situation.

  • X% of code coverage from Unit Test
  • Automated tests for the User Story are created and pass
  • Acceptance criteria are met
  • All regression testing of the product is moving
  • System-level Non-Functional requirements ( e.g. System-level performance) tested and passed
  • Software is running in the server to be defined by the team (optimally in pre-production)
  • Code review by peer
  • Technical documentation updated
  • User documentation updated
  • User Documentation is localised
  • Localisation for the story is done
  • Localisation testing is done
  • Marketing input is done
  • Legal documents are done
  • Beta Testing is done

But how can a Scrum Master push the team push to improve the Definition of Done? The answer is very easy, he should define the Future Definition of Done and The Present Definition of Done as you can see below.

Future DoD

When the Scrum Master creates the Definition of Done, he should think about all of the tasks that must be done to put the story into production. They should be imaginative and include everything, even tasks that might be out of their team’s control.


When they finish, they will get what I call the “Future Definition Of Done”. This is the most ambitious DoD that they can create.

Present Dod

The next step is to build a new Definition of Done. The team will use this Definition of Done. To make this DoD, just pick up the topics from the “Future Definition of Done” that the team can tackle at that moment.


Most probably, this will be a reduced list of what they created before.


Now they have two Definitions of Done, their job is to pick a new topic from the Future DoD. This is achieved, for example, in the Agile Retrospectives.


From time to time, the team can use the Agile Retrospective to think about, “What is the new topic they would like to include on the current DoD?”


At some point, the team will be able to move all the topics from the Future DoD to the current DoD.


At that point, the team should be very proud because they are a very mature team.


If they have topics on the Future Definition of Done that are out of their control, they can use them as usual impediments that can be raised in the Impediment Board. This might be tricky, but if you get the right support from management, you are helping the company to improve as a whole.


You are increasing efficiency by reducing the hand-overs and enabling the company to release software faster.

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Luis Gonçalves

About Luis Gonçalves

Luis Gonçalves is an Entrepreneur, Best Seller Author & International Keynote Speaker that works exclusively with Senior Executives of 7 to 8 figure businesses on the deployment of his game-changing ‘The ADAPT Methodology™’.


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