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Definition of Done Query

Last post 05:47 am June 22, 2015 by Venkataraman Balasubramanian
4 replies
09:32 pm June 15, 2015


Per the scrum guide if the definition of done is part the standards and conventions of the development organization then all scrum teams should follow it as minimum. Let me take a situation - lets say the development team doesn't have the required skills to meet this standard as minimum then what happens - will the scrum be delayed till the development team acquire those skills OR will the scrum development team be changed so that members with the required skills are inducted OR will the development team define a new definition of done per their skills and slowly reach the required skills over couple of sprints (btw, this will be against the statement mentioned in guide)

Not sure how frequent such a situation will be encountered but wanted to understand how this can be handled. Thanks

09:16 am June 17, 2015

Personally, I think that all options you mention may be valid. I am sure that there are others on top of that. I do not think it helps to talk about THE one solution that is superior in all situations.

In an environment that is serious about self-organization, I would opt for bringing together all who are impacted (the team in questions, surely also other teams or individuals?) and help them figure out which approach seems reasonable in the current situation and set-up. And as always, keep inspecting and adapting.

07:02 am June 18, 2015

The scrum guide advises that Development Teams are cross-functional, with all of the skills as a team necessary to create a product Increment;
It would appear the team haven't got the skills, they can't commit to the work. You're setting them up for failure, they can't produce shippable increment at the end of the sprint. Disaster!
Well against the definition of done, asking the team what can be achievable. Clever people can do amazing things when given the trust to grow. There is no reason, given that the work can be broken down into tasks that include learning how to do something first in a sprint in order to produce an increment of software, that is acceptable to the user. It may not do very much but if it meets the definition of done and is shippable then it's the product owner that decides what to do.

08:33 am June 18, 2015

Scrum favors delivery, no matter how minimal an increment may be. It is better to deliver something rather than nothing. This is what allows empirical inspection and adaptation to occur, with a view towards continual improvement.

If a Definition of Done can be negotiated which (a) the Development Team can meet and (b) which is of sufficient quality to provide value to the Product Owner, then the Scrum Team's conditions for production have been met.

At scale however, these conditions may not be sufficient for a development effort to be sanctioned. The wider organization may have a different risk appetite than a Scrum Team, and these quality expectations may therefore be reflected in an organizational DoD. If so, it would be inappropriate for a team to progress the work until such time as these organizational standards are satisfied or revised.

05:47 am June 22, 2015

thanks for all your responses. let me paraphrase the crux of the message -
- if the organization DOD is defined and is on a higher standard than the scrum team's definition of done then it makes bridge the gap before commencing
- however if there is a room for the organization to go ahead with the scrum team's definition of DOD (which is inferior when compared to organizational standards) as long as the PO sees value in the definition. this may not be in sync with what the scrum guide says and can be treated as an exception

this is definitely a situation query but i am trying to visualize how it could be countered

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