September 9, 2010

Are We There Yet? Doneness Criteria & Agile Development


How do you define "done" for your team? A one size fits all approach is next to impossible, given the variation across organizations and projects.

However, there are some actionable ways of determining what “done” means for your organization or project.

In the above scenario, you can see an identified impediment. The root cause can be found using the "five Whys".

Your response might have been, “great, I’ve identified an impediment and have an idea about root cause, but I’ve still got to continue the project.”

So now what? If you’re using a traditional Scrum board, at minimum your board looks something like this: 

 A board with an impediment will look something like this: 

You can see how easily a Scrum board can be updated to reflect impediments.

Anyone passing by this board can see that a story must make a pit stop at “Ready for QA” on its way to “Done”. This gives the team the opportunity to move forward with the project while the Scrum Master removes this impediment. 

As a side benefit, because the board should be located in a highly visible space, it will raise awareness to all the stakeholders and may expedite the time to resolution.

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