Learn the hands-on process of creating a definition of ready. Use this process when a team brings an item or story into a sprint. The definition of ready encourages a team to have ongoing conversations and thoughtful interactions about the user story.
- Many agile teams use a Definition of Ready to help with the planning process. It's an underutilized tool that can bring powerful results to the team. It helps the team with an agreement on expectations of what makes the team successful when bringing in an item or story to a sprint and it prevents re-work. A Definition of Ready can apply to a user's story or a backlog item, or any other artifact like a sprint review, or the product backlog in general. It helps the team determine, "Are we ready to move forward?" The most common way to use a Definition of Ready is for user stories.
Teams use it to determine if a user story is ready to be brought into a sprint, and the team will be successful delivering it. The team defines the Definition of Ready together, and updates it as needed as learnings are brought forward during the team's retrospective. Some of my favorite Definition of Ready items include things like, "Is the business value well-articulated?" and a team agreement that they can commit to the story and deliver it in the sprint.
There's a longer list of common items and definitions of ready that teams use in an exercise file. Take a look. The benefits of using a Definition of Ready include things like having a consistent expectation the team agrees on in determining if a user's story is ready for the team to move forward. It can also help reduce the spin on requirements during the sprint, and helps keep the team accountable. Be careful not to over-engineer the process with a complicated Definition of Ready.
It's not a hand-off and should not keep the team from having continued conversations and face-to-face interactions about each user's story. Definition of Ready is a great tool for many teams to really get the cadence and flow moving on the team.
- Rallying your team around the product vision
- Creating an agile product roadmap
- Creating a release plan focused on value
- Breaking down features
- Setting up, creating, and analyzing user story maps
- Collaborating on the big picture
- Leveraging user stories
- Prioritizing the product backlog
- Working with your team
- Defining what "ready" and "done" mean
- Avoiding technical debt
- Guiding your team through estimating exercises
- Making sprint planning and standup meetings beneficial