Scrum teams need to focus on continuous improvement; this includes the following 3 main areas:
1. Software Quality (reducing code complexity, time to solve defects, technical debt, etc.).
2. Way in which members communicate and information flows within and outside the team.
3. How obstacles are removed.
These three points plus the size and order of the software requirements can directly impact the user experience and final cost oI software products.
While I will focus on the first point only, you would be able to find more about the the second and third one in here.
When an organisation starts implementing Scrum, they often have concerns about the initial Acceptance Criteria list to be added into the Team new Definition of Done. Some companies choose to use an existing and comprehensive DOD list, while others select a basic list and allow teams to improve it. Some others prefer to create a DOD from scratch.
Have in mind that the Definition of Done is the minimum software quality that a team is able to produce.
Every of the previous alternatives have advantages and disadvantages, and each case should be carefully analyzed in order to chose the right option.
Whatever the desired option is, the organisation should understand that an Acceptance Criteria list is a proprietary set of rules and, therefore, local knowledge that must be learned and improved by teams over time. That is why, in my experience, it is always advisable to start with a small DOD and, once the team is able to master it, allow them to make improvements.
A process which is run on regular basis to improve a DOD is highly desirable; that will assist teams to gain certain cadence and evolve the list over time.
Keep in mind that there will be no continuous improvement if the team in charge of building the software product does not control their own Definition of Done. That will cause a drop in quality, increase in complexity, technical debt and cost per requirements, as well as an increase in frustration of its members.
If the team doesn’t control it, they will be unable to evolve their own processes and the Definition of Done will become larger.
Automating those steps as much as possible and taking solid steps towards learning is essential as it allows people to spend more time at focusing on improving the remaining two areas mentioned before.
I know by experience that many organizations have no idea how to help their Scrum teams to improve their Definitions Of Done without ”invading” their space or pushing items into their lists. New companies to Scrum might also feel that they don´t have an good and consistent framework to support this kind of learning related to improving their acceptance criteria items.
The DOD game is an easy solution which offers a powerful tool to allow teams to improve their DOD’s on regular basis, give visibility to the rest of the company about their progress and help the organisation to understand more about software quality.
Instructions and details of the DOD game can be downloaded here
Have fun and send me your feedback!
Thanks for listening,