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Agile definition of ‘ready’

by Simon Buehring
Learn how the Agile definition of 'ready' plays a crucial role in ensuring a smooth, efficient, and effective workflow.
Definition of Ready |

What is the Agile definition of ‘ready’ (DoR)?

In an Agile environment, the term ‘ready’ plays a crucial role in ensuring a smooth, efficient, and effective workflow. Unlike traditional project management approaches, which often focus on a comprehensive upfront specification, Agile methodologies stress the importance of being ready at each stage of the development process.

The Agile definition of ‘ready’ is a clear, agreed-upon set of criteria that a user story or task must meet before the team can begin work on it during a sprint. This concept is a checklist that items must tick off to ensure they are sufficiently prepared for development, thus promoting a better flow in the sprint and avoiding unnecessary delays.

Importance of the Agile definition of ‘ready’

Ensuring a user story is ‘ready’ is key to productivity. It allows the team to identify and address any potential issues upfront, preventing roadblocks during the sprint. This proactive stance helps to maintain a steady pace of development and reduces the chance of last-minute scrambles that can lead to errors or incomplete work.

Using the Agile definition of ‘ready’

Agile teams can operationalise the definition of ‘ready’ by incorporating it into their sprint planning and backlog refinement meetings. Teams may develop a definition of ‘ready’ (DoR) checklist that can include criteria such as:

  • The user story is clear and understandable.
  • Acceptance criteria are identified.
  • Necessary designs or user interfaces have been approved.
  • Dependencies are identified and resolved.
  • The story is appropriately sized for completion within a sprint.

By using such a checklist, teams can assess whether their backlog items are ready for sprint inclusion.

Benefits of the definition of ‘ready’

Adopting the Agile definition of ‘ready’ comes with multiple benefits:

Improved clarity

It eliminates ambiguity, ensuring every team member understands the scope and requirements before embarking on the task.

Enhanced focus

Teams avoid context switching between items, fostering deeper concentration and higher quality work.

Better predictability

With clear criteria, sprints become more predictable in terms of deliverables and timelines.

Reduced waste

Time and effort are spent only on items that are genuinely ready, minimising waste related to rework or misunderstanding.

In Agile, embracing the definition of ‘ready’ is a significant step towards more mature and effective Agile practices. It acts as a safeguard against common pitfalls and supports a culture of shared understanding and continuous improvement.

Learn from agile leaders

agileKRC has helped shape agile thinking by leading the teams that developed AgilePM® and PRINCE2 Agile®. We take a practical, success-oriented approach. We begin by taking the time to listen and understand your needs, before offering our real-world experience and expert guidance.

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