One of the most effective tools that can be employed to improve product quality is the creation of a "Definition of DONE" or DoD. The DoD can be used by the team to get everyone on the team on the same page in terms of what has to be done in order to call a product backlog item DONE. The DoD is much more than just, "it works" or "it's finished" and should include all of the regulatory, administrative, and logistical elements required by the product. For example, for a software product, your team's DoD might include the following:

  • All specifications have been updated, reviewed, and approved.
  • All code has been reviewed.
  • The software is in an integration environment and completely tested.

Let's say your team builds marketing materials instead of software (yep, you can use Scrum for that), your team's DoD might include the following:

  • All brand elements (color, font, etc) has been verified.
  • Legal department has approved all content.

See how it works?

USING THE DEFINITION OF DONE

During the Sprint, the Definition of DONE should be considered by the developers on the team while the solution is built, while estimating the backlog item, and particularly when saying to the Product Owner, "Hey, this product backlog item is done." Developers are responsible for ensuring that the DoD is achieved before they say that a product backlog item is complete. Likewise, the Product Owner is encouraged to verify Doneness should there be any doubt. 

PRODUCT QUALITY

By using the DoD properly, you can almost immediately improve product quality. Should you continue to experience new defect detection after the Sprint, it is suggested that you see what might be missing from the Definition of DONE. Remember, the definition isn't written in stone -- check it every six months or so and see if it needs to be updated.

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