Skip to main content

Why do we need definition of start (begin)? How is it different from Definition of Done?


We all know about definition of done. It defines a set of conditions which should be satisfied by the feature team during the sprint execution for each Product Backlog Item worked by them. Unless all the conditions are met, the Product Backlog Item (PBI) won’t be marked as done. This can be called as the exit criteria for each PBI or user story.

Usually apart from the team & PO, the organization and other stakeholders also play a big part in creating them. A well-defined Definition of Done ensures that all the PBI delivered meets the standards and if required can be deployed. As team maturity improves this definition also evolves.

For every exit criteria there should be an entry criteria. I have seen many lazy Product Owners (& scrum Teams) who don’t do a proper job of backlog grooming.  Because of this there will be lot of ambiguity about the upcoming PBI’s. There will be constant churn producing a lot of waste.  Sprint planning will end up in failure because team won’t know how to create tasks for the PBI. A poorly planned PBI will force the team do all the investigation before they can do the actual work, thus wasting their precious time. Sometimes the PO waits till the demo to provide a comment that his intention was something else!!! In this situation team will be forced to redo the PBI in the next sprint.







  • By having a well-defined definition of Begin a lot of confusion can be avoided.
  • Team will know that the PBIs meeting the Definition of Begin will contain all the necessary information. 
  • ScrumMasters job will be easy. They will have a benchmark and can ensure that the team and PO works together to define the PBI.  
  • Team can point this definition to their PO if they don’t do their job.  
  • It will help a new Product Owner to get familiar with the exiting culture and backlog grooming familiar with the team. 
  • This definition helps the organization a lot when they start scaling up 

Each team and company will have to define their own Definition of Begin. Like definition of done this should also evolve.  But ensure that this doesn’t become an inflexible document which could be used for auditing. The primary objective should be to eliminate waste & promote discussion between feature team and Product Owner.

For my backlog I will like to have 

  • A well defined User Story
  • Well defined Conditions of Acceptance (usually in GHERKIN format)
  • if required , UI screen
  • If required, any high level Architecture Diagram (from feature team)
  • Any system constraints  
  • Story Points from the team 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SCRUM- Who should write a user story

Traditionally user stories (or requirements) were written by Business analysts. They used to prepare big documents after months of study. It was a herculean task. I used to get such UI/Functional specification documents. I have fixed a lot of bugs because I missed few text in such 1000 + pages document. This is not the only interesting part. Some of the requirements were so weird that I often wondered why I am creating the features which no one is going to use. If I had the option I would have recommended a better option. If the BA’s misunderstood some requirements & customers failed to correct those few words in the epic requirement then we will have a nice situation. In the agile world the story is different. Product Owners are primarily responsible for user stories. But can anyone else also contribute? Yes. Definitely yes In actual environment many users write user stories. The first requirement may come from end user. The PO, tech architect, scrum master, BA’s... anyone can up

What are the rules of scrum?

A relatively new person to scrum asked me this question last day. My answer to that person was yes. But really does the scrum have any rules? Scrum is a framework which helps us in developing software. It has very few rules and apart from those basic rules rest of them are guidelines like best practices. Some of the rules  The roles of Scrum • Scrum Master -  http://www.theagileschool.com/2012/03/scrummasters-checklist-roles.html • Product Owner • Feature Team The PDCA cycle ( http://www.theagileschool.com/2012/05/pdca-scrum-or-agile-why-is-it-important.html  )  frequent communication about risks (daily) • Plan – Sprint planning • Do – Actual engineering sprint – deliver a potential shippable code • Check – Sprint review • Act – Retrospective  The scrum guide @ http://www.scrum.org/Scrum-Guides will be a good guideline for teams/companies planning to start scrum. If you are following the recommendation in these then you are following scrum. Apart from these rest of

Product Backlog: Should you write everything in user story format?

I like user stories a lot. They help everyone talk the same language and results in a better product. User story alone does not constitute product requirement. User story is supposed to be a place holder for discussion which should happen between the team, Product Owner and the customer. This discussion result in a common understanding which along with the user story content is the product requirement. This format captures the essence of requirement without confusing the readers User Story is only one of the many different ways in which requirements can be represented. This is not mandatory in any Agile “process”. But many have made this mandatory. I have seen many spending countless hours trying to write the requirements in user story format when they could have easily written that in simple one-line sentence in few minutes.   I have seen team members refusing to even discuss the requirement until product owner rewrote the requirement in user story format. Once I