What are Done Criteria?

August 9, 2017

Done Criteria are a set of rules that are applicable to all User Stories in a given Sprint. General Done Criteria could include any of the following:

  • Reviewed by other team members
  • Completed unit testing of the User Story
  • Completion of quality assurance tests
  • Completion of all documentation related to the User Story
  • All issues are fixed
  • Successful demonstration to stakeholders and/or business representatives

The key difference between Done Criteria and Acceptance Criteria is that while Acceptance Criteria are unique for individual User Stories, Done Criteria are a set of rules that are applicable to all User Stories in a given Sprint. But as with the Acceptance Criteria, all conditions of the Done Criteria must be satisfied for the User Story to be considered Done.

The Scrum Team should use a checklist of the general Done Criteria to ensure a task is finished and the result meets the Definition of Done (DoD). A clear Definition of Done is critical because it helps remove ambiguity and allows the team to adhere to required quality norms. The definition of Done is typically determined and documented by the Scrum Guidance Body.

Example of Done Criteria: Done Criteria for a project of designing the new variants of a popular sports car at LRA Ltd are:

  • The design is approved by the Technical Excellence division.
  • The prototype passes all wind tunnel tests mandated by the Aerodynamics division.
  • The design is cleared for production by the Intellectual Property division.
  • The design’s safety expectations are corroborated by the Safety Division’s Design Safety report.
  • The Cost Estimation report for the design is approved by the Finance division.

The required records and data to comply with the project’s documentation requirements can be generated as the team proceeds through Sprints and Releases. The inclusion of activities such as holding review meetings and writing design documents can help ensure compliance with internal and external quality standards. The basic principles of Scrum such as short iterations, incremental building, customer involvement, adaptation to changing requirements, and constantly adjusting scope, time, and cost within the project will still apply.

Toward the end of any iteration, the respective business unit and stakeholders participate in a Sprint Review Meeting in which the product increment is demonstrated to the Product Owner, sponsor, customer, and users. While feedback from all the stakeholders is gathered, only the Product Owner has the power to accept or reject a particular User Story as Done, according to the agreed upon Acceptance Criteria and Done Critieria. Thus, Acceptance Criteria and Done Criteria play a vital role in maintaining quality and need to be clearly understood by the team.


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