Agile uses a scrum project management methodology or framework for the development of products, like software and mobile applications for companies. Agile breaks the development process down into sprints. These usually last 2-4 weeks and result in a potentially shippable increment. By taking on this approach, the key stakeholders involved in the project can review increments and provide feedback at regular intervals, preventing a long list of changes and items at the end of the project.
The Definition of Done (DoD) is a key aspect of the Agile Methodology when developing a product and is crucial to a highly functioning Scrum team. The biggest challenge when creating the DoD is that different members of the project have various perspectives of what the term “Done” means.
For example, for a Developer the DoD normally means when an item they are creating or coding is finished. For a Product Owner, the DoD is when the full product works and meets the requirements of the client outlined at the start of the project. Whereas, a client’s DoD is when the fully shippable product, which is of high quality, is created and meets/exceeds the requirements of the end user. For some products there is no DoD, as more can always be added/changed.
To tackle this issue, a balance must be found between the three fundamentals of any project;
The agile methodology understands that features for any product will change and more items will be added with time. Therefore, it is the Product Owner’s role to ensure that the client is aware of the estimated time to complete an activity, the cost involved and the quality that will be delivered (e.g. to what level the activity will reach in the client’s expectations).
An example of this is an alarm clock;
- Basic fundamental - Wakes the end user up when required
- Expectation – Plays the tune of the end user’s choice to wake them up when required
- Delighter/Not required – Gradually wakes the user up when required, using natural daylight, playing sounds which will automatically put the user in a great mood and radiates the smell of fresh coffee.
By keeping transparency and constantly reviewing sprints with the client, user stories can be developed to understand which activities are most valuable and what level of work is required. Product Owners can ensure development is kept to a comprehensive checklist, which result in all members involved being happy when the product reaches its launch date. Product Owners and Developers can also find a balance and provide only “value added” items.
It should be noted that the DoD is not static and will change over the product’s development lifecycle. Organisational support and the team’s ability to remove impediments may enable the inclusion of additional activities into the DoD for features or sprints.
It should also be noted that not everything can be included in the products DoD. It is impossible to cater for everything as a project is limited to time and money and requirements constantly change.
The DoD is informed by reality where it captures activities that can be realistically committed by the team to be completed at each level (feature, sprint, release) (Dhaval Panchal | August 17, 2011). By using Agile Methodology, products are less likely to face issues and are more likely to be delivered on time and meet the requirements of the end client and users.
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