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Who creates the DoD?

Last post 08:05 am May 23, 2020 by Joshua Partogi
5 replies
09:54 pm May 12, 2020

In the Scrum Guide, under the Increment portion of the Scrum Artifacts section, it says:

 At the end of a Sprint, the new Increment must be "Done," which means it must be in useable condition and meet the Scrum Team’s definition of "Done".

Supporting that statement, under the Definition of "Done" section, it says:

This is the definition of "Done" for the Scrum Team and is used to assess when work is complete on the product Increment.

Once more, in the same section, it says:

The purpose of each Sprint is to deliver Increments of potentially releasable functionality that adhere to the Scrum Team’s current definition of "Done".


So the Scrum Team creates the DoD, right?


Not according to this statement, also in the Definition of "Done" section of the Scrum Guide:

If "Done" for an increment is not a convention of the development organization, the Development Team of the Scrum Team must define a definition of "Done" appropriate for the product.

So which statement is correct?  I ask because the practice tests I've taken, from multiple sources, say the answer is that the Dev Team creates the DoD.  I do not want to get the wrong on the actual PSPO I exam.

04:33 pm May 13, 2020

First a tip while reading.  Notice where I use "accountable" and "responsible" because there is a distinction. 

The Development Team is accountable for the presence of a Definition of Done (DoD).  They are responsible for ensuring that the work they do to achieve the Sprint Goal meets that definition. But the actual creation of the Definition of Done involves many parties.  For example, the R&D organization may require that for something to be "done" it must have documentation in place that explains how the application works for the team that manages the production environment.  Or they could state that all user interfaces must follow the corporate style guide for logo placements, copyright notices, corporate color palletes.  The Development Team might state that before any code is merged to master it must have been reviewed by 3 people other than the author. 

There are a lot of conditions that could be required for something to be considered "done" so the crafting of the DoD is a multi-role exercise.  But the Development Team is accountable for a DoD being in place.  

07:29 pm May 13, 2020

@Daniel Wilhite thank you for the detailed clarification.  Maybe Ken & Jeff should hire you to help with a rewrite of the Scrum Guide!  :-)

09:40 am May 19, 2020

I agree, the Scrum Guide is ambiguous on this point. As it is on a few points, unfortunately; it needs a good editing for clarity. This isn't a critique of the scrum process, simply of how it's described. I think it might be because the guide is meant to be easily consumable, but it means it misses needed detail in places for people trying to study to the level needed for the exams. Every single scrum artifact and process needs a clear, contiguous description of (at a minimum) who's responsible, when it occurs/when it's created/when it's updated, its duration, and who participates. The amount of discussion in these forums proves that.

To the point at hand, the DoD:

As per those first three statements that Troy quoted, it sounds like the Scrum Team creates the DoD. The possessive usage of "The Scrum Team's DoD" makes it sound like they created/own it, when in fact that statement should actually read "The DoD in use by the Scrum Team", because it's the Dev Team that creates the DoD. Per my understanding from test questions that ask who creates the DoD, anyway.

05:50 am May 20, 2020

I'm not sure I see the ambiguity regarding the DoD, I think the Scrum Guide is clear on who creates the DoD. It does say the Development Team of the Scrum Team (Scrum Team = Product Owner + Scrum Master + Development Team)

If the definition of "Done" for an increment is part of the conventions, standards or guidelines of the development organization, all Scrum Teams must follow it as a minimum.

If "Done" for an increment inot a convention of the development organization, the Development Team of the Scrum Team must define a definition of "Done" appropriate for the product.

At a bare minimum, if the organization has a standard or a level of quality that has to be present in the Increment, then all Scrum Teams should follow that. However, depending on the product or circumstances, along with the overarching organizational standards, the Development Team of a Scrum Team, for a particular Product can define their own DoD that includes the organizational standards, as well as any additional standards applicable in their context. This becomes the DoD for that Scrum Team, for that Product.

The purpose of the DoD is to create a shared understanding amongst everyone, including the different roles on the Scrum Team as to what "Done" means with respect to the Increment. That is why the usage is the Scrum Team's DoD.

Hope this helps.

08:05 am May 23, 2020

The Development team writes the Definition of Done, but the Product Owner also adheres to it. It means Product Owner should not just release a product that does not satisfy the Definition of Done.

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