The Scrum Guide™ describes the Definition of Done (DoD) as a tool for bringing transparency to the work a Scrum Team is performing. It is related more to the quality of a product, rather than its functionality.
As Scrum Teams work together using the Scrum framework to develop a product, it is important for stakeholders and Scrum Teams to understand when a product Increment can be called "Done." This means that before a piece of functionality is in a potentially releasable state, it must adhere to a common understanding of completion by those working on the Increment. Having a clear Definition of Done helps Scrum Teams work together more collaboratively, increases transparency, and ultimately results in the development of consistently higher quality software.
The DoD is usually a clear and concise list of requirements that a software Increment must adhere to for the team to call it complete. Until this list is satisfied, a product Increment is not done. During the Sprint Planning meeting, the Scrum Team develops or reconfirms its DoD, which enables the Development Team to know how much work to select for a given Sprint. Further, a common DoD helps to:
- Baseline progress on work items
- Enable transparency within the Scrum Team
- Expose work items that need attention
- Determine when an Increment is ready for release
The Definition of Done is not changed during a Sprint, but should change periodically between Sprints to reflect improvements the Development Team has made in its processes and capabilities to deliver software.
During your next Sprint Planning meeting we encourage you to familiarize your Scrum Team with the DoD by referring them to the Scrum Guide™, as well as this very basic explanation above. Or, read a more detailed explanation of DoD on MSDN.