Who has the final word about the DOD ?

Last post 07:33 pm September 1, 2017
by Ian Mitchell
4 replies
04:58 pm August 31, 2017

Hi folks !

With my colleagues, we are not able to have a clear view of who has the final word on the DOD.

It is clear in the Scrum Guide that, at a minimum, the Scrum Team must use the convention that are pushed by the organization to the Scrum Team.


The DOD represents the commitment of intrinsic quality of the work of the Dev Team. Often, the DOD contains technical jargon difficult to understand by the PO, so it seems difficult for the PO to have the final word, and this make me feel that the Dev Team has the final word. But the DOD should also be clear enough in order to maintain transparency.


The DOD refers to the quality of the increment which belongs to the PO. So it the PO duty to choose the level of quality, and this make me feel also that the PO has the final word. I don't like the idea of a PO pushing the DOD to the Dev Team, but if the PO really wants the Dev Team (full of geeks) to write user manuel in German and Chinese and French, they have to commit to it.



What should append if the newbie PO, not very aware of technical debt, wants to cut corners to deliver faster (or doesn't want those heavy, useless, boring, automated-test...) ?

What should append if the Dev Team, not expert enough, doesn't imagine that automated testing is possible ?

As a Scrum Master, I will teach about technical debt and asking questions like "is your DOD good enough to reduce total cost of ownership ?" but then, who has the final word if the PO and Dev Team don't change their minds ?


I'm leaning toward the PO, but I would like to have your point of view.

05:53 pm August 31, 2017

I think the answer would be development team as they only create the DOD.





06:14 pm August 31, 2017

Think of the DoD as a technical specification for meeting the quality requirements of the Product and the wider organization.

Hence the Development Team must frame and meet its technical criteria, but the Product Owner and the organization can be expected to have inputs. The PO may assert product qualities which must be satisfied, while the organization may have a DoD which all teams must reference.

The PO cannot force a Development Team to apply a lower standard of "Done" for the sake of expediency. The Development Team are wholly accountable for the quality of the work they deliver and no-one can oblige them to incur any technical debt.

06:35 pm September 1, 2017

So simply put, the PO and organisation can set minimums and the dev team completes the DoD?

That would make most sense to me at least, also given aforementioned examples.

07:33 pm September 1, 2017

Yes, but those "minimums" might be expressed in a different form. For example, the PO may express them in an entirely non-technical way. The Development Team would need to craft a DoD which expresses those minimums in appropriate technical terms.