In today’s dynamic and fast paced environment a product’s time to market has become an important factor in a product’s success. With no clear definition of done, it is highly possible that the product suffers from delays, risks and increased company costs.
‘Definition of Done’ also popularly known as DoD is a useful tool in defining the various conditions and parameters which mark the product as shippable. Every organization outlines a different DoD for their products based on different parameters.
Product parameters may include team resources, skill level, hours remaining, customer’s acceptance criteria, etc. All these parameters are dynamic and can change overtime throughout the product lifecycle which in turn changes the definition of done.
By clearly defining the criteria and parameters for the product, the management can then easily measure the progress of the product and if required can also alter the DoD as the situation demands.
DoD can be treated as product checklist for a shippable product or can also be perceived as the exit criteria for the product.
For example, one could tag the product as done by defining the condition that all unit test and acceptance tests should pass and code review and documentation should be complete. For the same product, the definition of done could also be that the product should not have any blocker bugs and no more than 2 high priority bugs are allowed. Hence, the same product can have two different definitions of done.
Lastly, DoD can be applied to individual phases in the software development lifecycle or can be applied to the product as a whole or at different project levels such as sprints, releases, etc. In summary, with the DoD clearly defined and used with consistency can lead to accelerated time to market and can assist in making accurate estimates for the product.