Product management glosary

Definition of Ready

What is Definition of Ready?

Definition of Ready (DoR) is a crucial term in the world of product management and agile software development. It is a set of criteria that a user story, feature, or product backlog item must meet before the development team can start working on it. The DoR ensures that the requirements are well-understood, clearly defined, and actionable, which helps to avoid confusion, rework, and delays during the development process. In this article, we will explore the importance of the Definition of Ready, its key components, and how to establish an effective DoR for your team.

Why is Definition of Ready Important?

Having a clear and agreed-upon Definition of Ready is essential for several reasons:

  • Efficiency: When the requirements are well-defined and ready for development, the team can work more efficiently, reducing the time spent on clarifications, rework, and unnecessary discussions.
  • Quality: A clear DoR helps to ensure that the final product meets the expectations of the stakeholders and provides the desired value to the users.
  • Team Alignment: By agreeing on a common set of criteria, the team members can better understand their roles and responsibilities, leading to improved collaboration and communication.
  • Predictability: When the team consistently works on well-defined tasks, it becomes easier to estimate the time and effort required for each task, leading to more accurate planning and forecasting.

Key Components of Definition of Ready

While the specific criteria for a Definition of Ready may vary depending on the organization and the project, some common components include:

  • Clear and Concise: The user story or feature description should be easy to understand, with no ambiguity or room for misinterpretation.
  • Acceptance Criteria: The requirements should include a list of conditions that must be met for the user story or feature to be considered complete. These criteria help to define the scope of the work and provide a clear understanding of what is expected.
  • Dependencies Identified: Any dependencies on other tasks, teams, or resources should be identified and addressed before the work begins.
  • Feasible: The team should have the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to complete the work within the given time frame.
  • Testable: The requirements should be written in a way that allows for easy verification through testing, ensuring that the final product meets the desired quality standards.
  • Estimated: The team should provide an estimate of the time and effort required to complete the work, which helps with planning and prioritization.

Establishing an Effective Definition of Ready

To create an effective Definition of Ready for your team, follow these steps:

  1. Collaborate with the Team: Involve all relevant team members, including product owners, developers, testers, and designers, in the process of defining the DoR. This ensures that everyone's perspective is considered and helps to create a shared understanding of the criteria.
  2. Keep it Simple: Avoid making the DoR overly complex or lengthy. Focus on the most important criteria that will have the biggest impact on the success of the project.
  3. Review and Refine: Regularly review and update the Definition of Ready as the project progresses and the team learns more about the requirements and the development process. This helps to ensure that the DoR remains relevant and effective throughout the project.
  4. Communicate and Enforce: Make sure that all team members are aware of the Definition of Ready and understand its importance. Hold the team accountable for meeting the DoR criteria before starting work on any user story or feature.

In conclusion, the Definition of Ready is a critical component of successful product management and agile development. By establishing a clear and agreed-upon set of criteria, teams can work more efficiently, deliver higher quality products, and improve overall project predictability. Invest time in creating an effective DoR for your team and reap the benefits of a smoother development process.