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How Done Makes Your Sprint Backlog More Transparent (73)

May 23, 2024

We started this Scrum foundation series explaining we see four underlying concepts of the Scrum framework. In the past series of mails we covered the three pillars of Empiricism, the Scrum Values, and a Self-Managing and Cross-Functional Team.

The concept Done is the fourth of these concepts. It needs a self-managing, and especially a cross-functional team, a team living the Scrum Values, to make it work in a way that it brings the needed transparency with regards to the quality of your solution/product.

👉 A solution (Product/Increment/Service) the team labels as Done, meaning the solution meets the required quality measures, is ready to be released in the hands of the users, in their day-to-day life.

Being Done = meeting the required quality measures = a new Increment exists = a production release is possible.

So how does the Sprint Backlog support the concept of getting to a Done Increment at least by the end of every Sprint?

Remember that the purpose of the Sprint Backlog is to bring transparency on the work the Developers still plan to accomplish in order to achieve the Sprint Goal in the next Increment.

Any plan answers a few questions, and in this case these covered as follows:

  • Why: the Sprint Goal
  • What: the selected Product Backlog Items
  • Who: the Scrum Team; it would be a waste to plan in more detail, a waste to assign details to individual team members…
  • When: by the end of the Sprint; it would be a waste to plan in more detail…
  • How: the work items

This last topic warrants some more explanation though.

Work items express the work that is needed to deliver that next Increment of value in a state that is of the expected quality level so that it can be put in operational use; so that users can start using it in their day-to-day life/work.

In other words: everything that is listed in the Definition of Done for the product must be adhered to. I recommend the teams I coach to have each of the topics of the DoD covered in work items in the Sprint Backlog; and that for each selected Product Backlog Item. As such your Sprint Backlog will always show the remaining work to get to Done.

The Sprint Backlog shows all the work that needs to be accomplished in order to deliver an Increment of Value covering the full Definition of Done by the end of the Sprint.

Together with your Scrum Team, evaluate how you can improve the use of your Definition of Done during planning and re-planning activities, certainly during Sprint Planning and the Daily Scrum.


I hope you find value in these short posts and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to make contact.

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Done and the Sprint Backlog

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