Evolving Your Definition of Done in Scrum: A Guide for Agile Teams

As outlined in the Scrum Guide, the DoD represents a shared understanding within the Scrum Team .

In the Scrum framework, the Definition of Done (DoD) is a critical element that ensures transparency, quality, and accountability in the product development process. As outlined in the Scrum Guide, the DoD represents a shared understanding within the Scrum Team regarding the criteria that must be met for a product increment to be considered “DONE”. However, as a Scrum Team matures and gains experience, it is essential to continually evolve and refine the DoD to meet changing needs and improve overall product quality. This blog post will explore practical steps for Scrum Teams to evolve their Definition of Done over time, aligning it with the team’s capabilities, customer expectations, and industry standards.

  1. Start with the Scrum Guide’s Definition of Done:

The Scrum Guide provides a foundation for the Definition of Done, offering a starting point for Scrum Teams. It emphasises that the DoD should be transparent, agreed upon by the team, and applied consistently. Begin by adopting the Scrum Guide’s DoD, which typically starts with minimum quality criteria for a product, including code completeness, unit testing, and adherence to coding standards.

  1. Review and Reflect on Current Practices:

Regularly assess your current Definition of Done and evaluate its effectiveness. Gather feedback from team members, stakeholders, and customers to identify improvement areas or gaps. Reflect on challenges faced during previous sprints and consider whether the DoD adequately addressed them.

  1. Collaborate and Align with Stakeholders:

Involve stakeholders and customers in discussions to understand their evolving needs and expectations. Engage in collaborative conversations to align the DoD with their perspectives. This ensures the product increment meets their desired outcomes, incorporates valuable feedback, fosters transparency and collaboration, and creates a shared understanding and a sense of ownership.

  1. Continuously Raise the Bar:

As the Scrum Team matures and gains experience, it is crucial to raise the bar of your Definition of Done continually. Consider incorporating additional quality assurance measures, such as integration testing, acceptance testing, security assessments, or performance testing. These enhancements ensure that the product increment meets a higher standard and minimises the risk of defects or regressions.

  1. Embrace Automation and DevOps Practices:

Incorporate automation and DevOps practices into your Definition of Done. Implement continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipelines to automate build, testing, and deployment processes. Integrating automated testing frameworks, code analysis tools, and deployment automation can significantly reduce human errors and improve the speed and reliability of delivering product increments.

  1. Adapt to Emerging Industry Standards:

Stay abreast of emerging industry standards, frameworks, and best practices related to quality and software development. Regularly evaluate your Definition of Done against these benchmarks to ensure your team remains competitive and delivers high-quality products. Incorporate new practices, techniques, or metrics, such as code reviews, code coverage thresholds, accessibility compliance, or user experience testing.

  1. Reflect, Adapt, and Continuously Improve:

Adopt an empirical mindset by leveraging the Scrum framework’s inspect-and-adapt cycle. Regularly reflect on your DoD, seek feedback from team members and stakeholders, and adjust accordingly. Of course, Sprint Retrospective is a formal opportunity to reflect, adapt and improve your definition of done. But that’s not the only chance.


In the Scrum framework, the Definition of Done is a powerful tool for ensuring the quality and completeness of product increments. As a Scrum Team matures and gains experience, evolving the Definition of Done becomes essential to keep pace with industry trends and deliver high-value products. Following the practical steps outlined in this blog post, your Scrum Team can continually refine and adapt the DoD to meet changing needs and improve overall product quality.

Remember, evolving your Definition of Done is an iterative process. It requires collaboration, reflection, and a commitment to continuous improvement. By regularly reviewing and assessing your current practices, collaborating with stakeholders, raising the bar of your DoD, and continuously reflecting and adapting, your team will be well-positioned to drive success in Agile development.

If you want to strengthen further your Scrum Team’s understanding and application of the Definition of Done, consider joining the Certified Scrum Master or Advanced Certified Scrum Master course from tryScrum. These comprehensive courses offer advanced techniques and strategies for optimising the Definition of Done and enhancing your team’s Agile practices. Gain the knowledge and skills needed to support your team in their pursuit of excellence and deliver outstanding results.

Evolving your Definition of Done is a journey of growth and improvement. Embrace the opportunity to continuously refine and adapt, and witness its positive impact on your Scrum Team’s ability to deliver high-quality products, exceed customer expectations, and drive success in the ever-changing software development landscape.

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