What Is the Difference Between the Definition of Done (DoD) and the Definition of Ready (DoR)?

While only DoD is part of Scrum, some teams may choose to use DoR to help with Product Backlog transparency. The DoD provides a commitment for what the team must do to have a Done Increment.

The Definition of Done (DoD) is a shared understanding of what it means for work to be finished and ensures that the Increment is meeting the quality requirements for the product. 

The Definition of Ready (DoR) usually refers to an agreed-upon set of criteria that a Product Backlog item must meet. Scrum does not require it and ir can lead to harmful behaviours such as gatekeeping.

The Definition of Done

The DoD is a comprehensive checklist of necessary criteria that ensures the increment is at the desired quality and is truly “done”.

This includes all the work that must be done for the working increment to be useful and releasable and could consist of things like writing code, testing, documentation, and meeting regulatory requirements.

It is crucial for transparency and ensuring the Increment is respecting the standards of the organisation or the product and also satisfies the Scrum Team’s quality standards.

The DoD is often refined and agreed upon by the entire Scrum Team, and it’s revisited as the team learns and the product evolves.

The Definition of Ready

The DoR, on the other hand, is a complementary practice not mentioned in the Scrum Guide. It is commonly used by Scrum Teams as part of their working agreements.

The DoR helps the team determine when a Product Backlog item is ready to be moved to stage where development takes place. It’s a checklist that might include criteria, like dependencies identified and resolved, designs completed, having been through a refinement session, or clear acceptance criteria.

It ensures that work is sufficiently prepared, clear, and feasible before the team can consider to move it to the next stage of development.

The DoR aims to prevent bringing in work that is too ambiguous or large, which would impede the flow of value and could lead to impediments or blockers during the Sprint.