Ready, set, GO! The Definition of Ready

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A Definition of Ready (DoR) is a useful tool for ensuring that PBIs are prepared for development. A DoR is a shared understanding of what it means for a PBI to be ready, and it is used during Product Backlog Refinements to ensure that PBIs in the Product Backlog are well-understood, refined, and ready for the Developers to tackle in one of the upcoming Sprints.

Definition of Ready

Not “Ready”

Not using a DoR can lead to a number of negative implications such as:

  • Poorly defined and unclear PBIs. PBIs may not be well defined without a Definition of Ready, resulting in confusion and misunderstandings among team members;
  • Delays in work initiation. Developers may lack a clear understanding of what is required to begin work, causing delays in the start of new tasks;
  • Wasted time and effort. Developers may spend time working on PBIs that are not yet complete, resulting in wasted time and effort;
  • Decreased efficiency. Developers may be forced to revisit and revise incomplete PBIs on a regular basis, resulting in decreased efficiency and productivity;
  • Lack of accountability. It may be difficult to determine who is responsible for ensuring that tasks are ready for work without a DoR, resulting in a lack of accountability;
  • Decreased quality of work. As a result of poorly defined PBIs and a lack of clarity about what is expected, developers may produce lower-quality work.

A clearly defined and agreed-upon DoR helps to avoid delays and rework during the development process by ensuring that all necessary information and requirements are gathered before development begins. This reduces the risk of misunderstandings, confusion, and missing requirements while also ensuring that the functionality is delivered on time.

The Scrum Guide, on the other hand, does not describe the DoR because it is regarded as a specific implementation detail that Scrum Teams can tailor to their own needs and context (as long as it aligns with the core principles and values of Scrum).

The INVEST Criteria

The INVEST criteria are used to evaluate the quality of a PBI and ensure it is ready for the Developers to work on. The acronym stands for:

  • Independent – self-contained and not dependent on others
  • Negotiable – details can be discussed and changed
  • Valuable – provides value to the customer or end-user
  • Estimable – can be accurately estimated for size and effort
  • Small – small enough to be done within one Sprint
  • Testable – can be tested to verify its completeness

When a PBI meets all of these criteria, it is considered ‘ready’ for Sprint work. The INVEST criteria help the DoR by providing a clear set of guidelines for ensuring that a PBI is well-formed, clear, and actionable. This ensures that the team is working on the right things and that they have the necessary information to complete the work successfully.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Developing a DoR is a team effort that should include all stakeholders, including developers, the Product Owner, and management. The Scrum Master is in charge of facilitating this process and ensuring that everyone has a voice and that all points of view are considered.

The process of developing a DoR should begin with a brainstorming session in which everyone can share their thoughts and ideas on what should be included. Once the initial list of criteria has been created, the stakeholders should review and refine it to ensure that it is specific, measurable, and achievable. This can be accomplished through a series of reviews, with each iteration building on the one before it until a final version is reached.


Once completed, the DoR should be distributed to all stakeholders and reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure that it remains relevant and up to date. The DoR should be improved on a regular basis! This is accomplished by reviewing and updating it on a regular basis. The Scrum Master should assist the team in identifying areas for improvement and making changes to the DoR as needed.

In conclusion, having a clear and agreed-upon DoR is a very useful tool in Scrum. It helps to ensure that all necessary information, requirements, and dependencies are in place before development begins, and it helps to reduce the risk of development delays and rework. The Scrum Team as a whole should be involved in developing and maintaining the DoR. The Scrum Team can ensure that the Definition of Ready is comprehensive and effective by following best practices such as using templates and checklists, clearly defining acceptance criteria, and ensuring that items are small enough to be completed within one Sprint.

Furthermore, by reviewing and updating the DoR on a regular basis, the Scrum Team can ensure that it remains relevant and up to date, and that it continues to meet the needs of all stakeholders.

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