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How to Create a Definition of Done in Agile for Product Teams

How do you know when a task is done, finished, or completed?

In the agile world, “done” and “ready” aren’t just throwaway terms. They carry some serious weight—agile teams have specific criteria that must be met before declaring a software product truly “done” or “ready to ship.”

This set of criteria is called the Definition of Done (DoD for short). It ensures everyone is on the same page about what constitutes a completed task or deliverable that meets the team’s quality standards.

But the DoD isn’t just a boring checklist. It embodies the core agile principles of continuous improvement, collaboration, and putting the customer first. By laying out clear guidelines for “doneness,” teams can focus on delivering real value to their customers efficiently while fostering a culture of quality and accountability.

In this article, we will explore what “done” stands for in Kanban and Agile Scrum methodologies, how they impact product teams, and the tools to help you deliver faster.

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What is the Definition of Done in Agile?

Definition of Done (DoD) is an Agile Scrum term that refers to a shared understanding and set of quality criteria that must be met before a unit of work (user story, feature, or product increment) can be considered truly complete and potentially releasable. 

While the specific DoD criteria can vary from team to team and project to project, they typically cover aspects such as:

  • Code requirements: The code should meet all defined functional and non-functional requirements, including performance, security, and maintainability standards
  • Code quality: The code should adhere to coding best practices and style guides and pass all automated tests (unit, integration, and acceptance tests)
  • Documentation: Relevant documentation, such as user guides, technical documentation, and release notes, should be updated and available
  • Testing: The work item should pass all necessary testing, including exploratory testing, user acceptance testing, and any relevant compliance or regulatory testing.
  • Deployability: The work item should be deployable to a production-like environment and meet all relevant deployment criteria
  • Peer review: The code should undergo peer review and approval from team members

Sidebar: In agile, “ready” and “done” are not interchangeable. The Definition of Ready (DoR) outlines the criteria that a product backlog item must meet before it can be pulled into a sprint. While DoD focuses on completion standards for work items, DoR ensures that items are ready to be included in the sprint, eventually leading to DoD. More on this later.

The role and importance of DoD in agile project management

Features and sprints constantly evolve in agile projects, and a clear definition of done then becomes essential for making progress. It fosters a shared understanding of quality standards, reduces technical debt, and enhances the overall predictability and transparency of the development process:

  • Ensures consistent quality: The DoD sets a clear standard for what done means in scrum project management to avoid situations where a feature seems finished to one team member but needs more work according to another. With A DoD in place, everyone works toward the same quality bar
  • Establishes transparency: A well-defined DoD creates transparency within the Scrum team. Everyone knows what goes into a completed feature, making it easier to track progress and identify any roadblocks
  • Boosts predictability: With a DoD in place, teams can better estimate the amount of work they can tackle in a sprint, which allows for more efficient planning and resource allocation for user stories
  • Reduces rework: By ensuring all aspects of a feature are addressed before marking it done, the DoD helps minimize the need for rework later on, saving time
  • Facilitates collaboration: A shared understanding of done fosters better collaboration between team members. Developers, testers, and other stakeholders can work together more effectively, knowing what’s expected from each stage

A strong DoD is key for delivering high-quality work in agile environments.

Comparison between the DoD and the Definition of Ready (DoR)

For product development teams working within agile project management methodologies, it’s important to ensure that work is done efficiently and adheres to high standards of quality. Two key concepts play a vital role in achieving this: DoD and DoR. 

While they might sound similar, they serve distinct purposes in the development workflow. Let’s break down their differences and understand how they contribute to a successful Agile project.

FeatureDefinition of Done (DoD)Definition of Ready (DoR)
FocusCompletion criteriaPreparation criteria
StageEnd of the development cycleBefore development or the beginning of sprints
PurposeEnsures quality and completenessIncreases efficiency and reduces waste
ImpactConsistent product quality 
Reduced rework 
Improved transparency
Smoother sprint planning 
Clearer project scope 
More predictable workload

The DoD and DoR, in combination, act as guardrails for your agile team

DoD ensures the production of high-quality finished software by clearly defining completion. This concept is also finds a mention in the Scrum framework. 

DoR, on the other hand, optimizes the development process by ensuring tasks are well-defined and prepared for development before entering a sprint. This criterion is not mentioned in the Scrum framework and is optional for teams to adopt. 

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Historical Background of the Definition of Done in Scrum

The DoD in Scrum originated in early software development practices, where clarity was needed to ensure quality and functionality in agile workflows

As agile methodologies evolved, the need for a shared understanding and formal description of completion became apparent, leading to the formalization of DoD in Scrum.

In the early 2000s, the Agile Manifesto outlined core principles such as iterative development and continuous improvement, which emphasized working software over comprehensive documentation. 

This laid the groundwork for the need for clear completion criteria—the DoD—to ensure quality despite less upfront planning.

The need to balance speed with quality became evident as agile practices gained traction. DoD emerged to address this by establishing a common understanding of what constitutes a ‘shippable’ feature.

The DoD will keep pace with Agile’s evolution. As AI testing, real-time collaboration, and continuous deployment become more prevalent, future DoDs might focus heavily on these areas.

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Benefits and Drawbacks of the Definition of Done 

The DoD is a cornerstone of agile project management, but like any tool or method, it has its advantages and drawbacks. 

Here’s a breakdown of both:


  • Consistent quality: It ensures all team members are on the same page about what constitutes a finished product, reducing inconsistencies and improving overall quality
  • Reduced rework: By clearly defining completion criteria, the DoD minimizes the need to revisit tasks later, saving time and resources
  • Improved transparency: A well-defined DoD makes sure everyone knows what to expect from each stage of development, leading to better communication and collaboration
  • Enhanced predictability: Defining done allows for more accurate task estimation and sprint planning, resulting in a more predictable development process
  • Streamlined workflows: With clear completion criteria, DoD improves workflows by eliminating ambiguity about what has to be done before a feature is considered ready to be shipped


  • Restrictive and rigid: A DoD that’s too rigid can stifle innovation and make it difficult to adapt to changing requirements
  • Potential for scope creep: If you don’t regularly review and update th DoD, it can lead to scope creep as features become more complex over time
  • Focus on process over outcomes: In rare cases, a rigid DoD might shift the focus from delivering value to simply completing tasks defined in the DoD
  • Difficulty in defining done for complex projects: For highly complex projects, defining a clear DoD can be challenging and may require careful consideration of all potential aspects

Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of DoD, let’s look at the steps involved in creating it. 

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Creating a Definition of Done

The responsibility of creating the DoD falls primarily on the scrum team. It’s a collaborative effort that often involves other key players such as the Scrum Master, Product Owners, and Testers. By ensuring that every member provides their input, teams can ensure that the DoD reflects business and technical needs.

Steps in creating a DoD

Here’s a breakdown of the steps involved in creating a strong DoD:

  1. Leverage existing standards: If your organization has established agile practices, check for existing DoD templates or guidelines to decide on the starting point
  2. Brainstorm and discuss: The development team, along with relevant stakeholders, should brainstorm and discuss what constitutes a “done” feature, which includes aspects such as unit testing, code reviews, documentation updates, and successful user acceptance testing
  3. Define specific criteria: Once the broad aspects are identified, turn them into specific, measurable criteria. For example, detail unit testing as ‘all unit tests must pass with 90% code coverage’
  4. Prioritize and refine: Not all criteria might hold equal weight. Prioritize essential elements and refine the DoD to ensure clarity and conciseness
  5. Document and share: The agreed-upon DoD should be documented in a readily accessible format, such as a project wiki or shared document, which serves as an easy reference for the entire team
  6. Review and adapt: The DoD is a living document. Review it periodically to adapt to evolving project needs and technological advancements

By following these steps, you can create a DoD that empowers your Agile team to deliver high-quality features efficiently.

Best practices in creating a DoD

The DoD is a valuable tool, but its effectiveness hinges on how you create it. Here are some best practices to guide you:

  • Focus on outcomes, not tasks: Don’t get bogged down in listing every single task. Instead, focus on the desired outcomes, such as a working feature that meets user needs and passes quality checks
  • Keep it SMART: Your DoD criteria should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound to maintain clarity and avoid ambiguity
  • Start simple, evolve gradually: A complex DoD can be overwhelming. Begin with a core set of criteria and add more details as needed. Remember, it’s a living document that can adapt to the project
  • Prioritize based on value: Not all criteria hold equal weight. Prioritize elements that deliver the most value to the product and user experience
  • Automate tasks: Utilize automated testing tools and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines to streamline the completion process and save time

These best practices will evolve as the DoD changes with AI tools and project requirements. 

Creating a checklist for completion

A well-designed checklist can make the DoD easy to follow and verify. Here’s how to create one:

  • Break down the criteria: Divide the broad DoD criteria into smaller, more manageable scrum values or checklist items
  • Use clear and actionable language: Each scrum artifact should be phrased clearly and state the specific action required for completion (e.g., ‘All unit tests passed’ or ‘Code reviewed by another developer’)
  • Prioritize the checklist: Arrange checklist items in the order they should be completed for a smooth workflow
  • Align with workflow: Ensure the checklist integrates seamlessly with your existing development workflow for ease of use
  • Maintain and update: Keep the checklist up-to-date as the DoD evolves and project needs change
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Implementing the Definition of Done in Agile Project Management

With the steps we outlined and the checklist we shared, you’ll be able to create a roadmap for successfully implementing your DoD within your agile framework. Once you’ve created and agreed on the definition of done with your project team, these steps will help you apply it to all your sprints:

Step 1: Collaborative creation

The DoD serves a greater purpose only when everyone comes together to standardize the quality of products. This collaboration manifests in the form of: 

  • Team brainstorming: Gather the development team, product owner, and relevant stakeholders for a brainstorming session. Discuss what constitutes a done feature, considering aspects such as code quality, testing, documentation, and user acceptance
  • Prioritization and refinement: Once you identify all aspects, prioritize them based on importance. Refine the DoD criteria to ensure clarity, avoiding overly generic statements
  • Documentation and sharing: Document the final DoD in a readily accessible format, such as a project wiki or shared document, for easy reference throughout the development process

Step 2: Integration into workflows

After actualizing the definition of done in agile methodologies, integrate them within different parts of your workflow:

  • Sprint planning: During sprint planning, actively reference the DoD to estimate tasks and ensure all team members understand the level of completion expected for each user story or task
  • Daily stand-up meetings: Briefly discuss the DoD during daily stand-up meetings, one of the scrum pillars to maintain focus and ensure everyone’s working towards the same completion criteria
  • Code reviews and testing: Integrate the DoD criteria into code reviews and testing practices. Code reviewers should consider aspects such as code quality and adherence to coding standards, while testers ensure all functionalities meet the defined acceptance criteria
  • User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Involve the product owner or stakeholders in user acceptance testing to ensure the completed feature aligns with user needs and expectations as outlined in the DoD

Step 3: Continuous monitoring and Improvement

Even while moving forward with your project, the definition of done will change. You can bring about continuous monitoring and improvement in two ways: 

  • Retrospectives: Regularly review the DoD during the sprint review and retrospectives. Discuss its effectiveness, identify roadblocks, and consider adjustments as needed
  • Adaptability: The DoD should be a living document that can adapt to changing project requirements or technological advancements. Revisit and update it periodically
  • Transparency and communication: Promote open communication within the team. Encourage discussions about the DoD and its implications for daily tasks
  • Team ownership: Empower the development team to take ownership of the DoD. Their understanding and commitment are crucial for its implementation

You can ensure effective implementation by properly following the steps and best practices and by creating a well-defined DoD checklist. 

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Applications of the Definition of Done 

Employing platform solutions such as the ClickUp Product Management Software or the ClickUp Agile Project Management Software can help you apply DoD using visual tools such as Scrum and Kanban. 

Let’s look at how these methods work and which one you should use: 

1. Scrum method

Do you know how Scrum came to be? 

Believe it or not, Scrum is inspired by rugby. In rugby, a team comes together in a huddle to move the ball forward. In product development, Scrum is akin to the huddle where the team comes together to move product development forward.

Scrum is an agile team collaboration framework that relies on a defined set of roles (Product Owner, Scrum Master, Development Team) and time-boxed sprints to deliver project outcomes successfully. 

For efficient Scrum workflows, you need a tool that can help you lay out goals, plan project timelines and sprints, identify the tasks and subtasks for each sprint, assign responsibilities, communicate clearly, and monitor progress.

ClickUp’s project management platform

ClickUp’s project management platform can help you do all this and more in a centralized collaboration hub for your entire team. 

ClickUp Agile Project Management Software
Manage product roadmaps, backlogs, sprints, and UX design with ClickUp Agile Project Management Software

Bring all the moving parts of your agile journey together in ClickUp. Access a collaborative workspace, make use of scrum templates that fast-track various phases of your project, and share progress reports with all stakeholders at the click of a button. 

Here are all the tools ClickUp offers you to make your agile projects efficient and collaborative, ensuring transparency and open communication:

  • Take control of the entire product lifecycle, from ideation to release. Create product workflows that adapt to your needs, organize handoffs between teams, and share every resource in one place
  • Use the ClickUp Board view to create, monitor, track, and achieve sprint goals. Assign tasks within the board to your team members and move them between stages like ‘To-do’, ‘In progress’, and ‘Done’ with a simple drag-and-drop functionality
ClickUp’s Board View 
Know the status of your tasks at a glance and move completed tasks to the next stage quickly with ClickUp’s Board View 
  • Use 1000+ ClickUp Integrations to use every important tool in one console, such as GitHub, GSuite, Zoom, Asana, and Slack, to hold regular team meetings, submit and review software bugs, and share regular updates
  • Use the AI-powered ClickUp Brain to generate product roadmaps, create test plans, and write technical specifications with expert-crafted AI tools for agile teams
ClickUp AI Product Requirements Document Example
Use prompts with ClickUp AI to quickly build out product requirement documents (PRDs) in a flash

ClickUp Scrum Meeting Template

Besides using Board view as your product scrum or sprint tool, you can use the ClickUp Scrum Meeting Template to hold regular team check-ins for progress reviews and to discuss roadblocks. 

Use the ClickUp Scrum Meeting Template to conduct daily status meetings about tasks and to-dos for projects 

Scrum meetings are an essential part of any agile workflow. This agile principles-based template helps teams organize and customize Scrum meetings to maximize productivity. 

Here’s how this template bolsters your team’s workflow:

  • The Getting Started Guide lets you and your team hit the ground running, ensuring everyone understands the template’s functionalities
  • Brainstorm using a whiteboard, a virtual space that becomes your team’s playground for generating ideas, visualizing them, and holding dynamic discussions 
  • Organize tasks into clear ‘Open’ and ‘Done’ statuses, providing instant visibility into your team’s progress
  • As tasks move forward, simply change their status within the template, keeping everyone informed and aligned in real time
  • With a clear view of progress and potential roadblocks, your team can address issues efficiently and strategically
  • The template goes beyond basic tracking. It allows you to monitor and analyze tasks, pinpointing areas for improvement and maximizing your team’s overall productivity

This template isn’t just about ticking boxes; it’s about transforming your meetings into a strategic hub for project success.

2. Kanban method

Kanban is an agile project management methodology that prioritizes visualizing workflow and continuous improvement. Unlike Scrum, which focuses on time-boxed sprints, Kanban emphasizes a smooth, steady flow of work. 

Using ClickUp Board View, you can create a Scrum or Kanban board depending on your project requirements and reliance on flexibility. With a fully customizable Kanban system, you can drag-and-drop tasks, sort and filter them by assignee, due date, status, etc., and more.

ClickUp Kanban View Roadmap Template

If you want a jumpstart on creating your visual workflow for product development, use agile templates such as the ClickUp Kanban View Roadmap Template

Manage your tasks and targets, prioritize what matters most, and have a clear overview of your development efforts using the ClickUp Kanban View Roadmap Template

This template offers a powerful agile tool to visualize your product workflow and keep you moving forward.

  • Create statuses that accurately reflect stages in your workflow, such as ‘Backlog,’ ‘In Development,’ or ‘User Testing’—vital to keep team members informed of progress
  • Capture vital information such as ‘Product Area’ or ‘Feature Description’ using custom fields that enrich your Kanban board and provide a deeper understanding of tasks at a glance
  • Get seven different views, each tailored to your specific needs. Try the Timeline view for a high-level overview of progress or switch to the Team Workload view to see individual assignments
  • Automatically organize your Kanban board, ensuring all the information you need is easily accessible and readily available
  • Track the time invested in each task, gaining valuable insights into team efficiency and project timelines
  • Identify potential roadblocks by highlighting task dependencies. This proactive approach helps you avoid delays and keep product development flowing smoothly
  • Features such as tags and email notifications ensure improved communication within your team, keeping everyone informed and aligned throughout the product development process

Sidebar: There’s more to ClickUp than meets the eye. Access a library of 1000+ ClickUp Templates within ClickUp’s collaborative product management software. 

ClickUp Dashboards

ClickUp Sprint Dashboard
Improve your team’s planning and performance with ClickUp Sprint Dashboard, including sprint velocity, burn up, burn down, lead time, cycle time, and cumulative flow charts

Create fully customizable ClickUp Dashboards to gain a bird’s-eye view of your work, improve project performance, and manage sprints and teams centrally. Organize your project details into a flexible canvas of data, lists, cards, charts, and graphs—create a system that’s uniquely yours. 

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ClickUp for Agile Product Development Teams

In agile product development, ensuring quality and efficiency can feel like a constant tightrope walk. The DoD is your safety net—a clear set of criteria that defines what’s complete and ready to be shipped. 

Implementing DoD doesn’t have to be a solo act. A tool like ClickUp can become your wingman, easily integrating with Scrum and Kanban methodologies.

Its bevy of product management features empowers you to create visual workflows, track progress against your DoD, and collaborate effectively with your team. 

Sign up on ClickUp and gain exceptional results, sprint after sprint!

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Frequently Asked Questions  (FAQs)

1. What does DoR stand for in agile?

DoR in agile stands for Definition of Ready. It defines the criteria a task or user story must meet before it’s ready for development within a sprint.

2. What is DoR in business analysis?

The concept of DoR isn’t typical of traditional business analysis. It’s a concept specific to agile project management methodologies, particularly Scrum and Kanban.

3. What is the DoR list in Scrum?

The concept of a DoR list isn’t an official part of the Scrum framework. Scrum focuses on a shared understanding of what ‘done’ means through the Definition of Done (DoD).

However, many Scrum teams find a DoR list helpful, especially those new to agile methodologies. It acts as a comprehensive checklist or set of quality measures required for a user story or task to be ready for development within a sprint.

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