We started this Scrum foundation series explaining we see four underlying concepts of the Scrum framework. In the past series of mails we covered the three pillars of Empiricism, the Scrum Values, and a Self-Managing and Cross-Functional Team.

The concept Done is the fourth of these concepts. It needs a self-managing, and especially a cross-functional team, a team living the Scrum Values, to make it work in a way that it brings the needed transparency with regards to the quality of your solution/product.

👉 A solution (Product/Increment/Service) the team labels as Done, meaning the solution meets the required quality measures, is ready to be released in the hands of the users, in their day-to-day life.

Being Done = meeting the required quality measures = a new Increment exists = a production release is possible.

During each of the Scrum Events, Done should receive the necessary attention and each of the Scrum accountabilities has its role to play.

So how is Done, the Definition of Done important during the Sprint Retrospective?

Remember that the purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to plan ways to improve quality and effectiveness.
Combine this with the purpose of the Definition of Done – bringing transparency in the quality measures required for the product, and you can see the importance of the Definition of Done during your Sprint Retrospective.

As a Scrum team inspects its last Sprint looking for ways to improve, quality could be one of the topics to discuss.
Did we achieve the required levels?

If not, how come? Was it not clear enough in the Definition of Done? What other reasons? How can we become more effective in meeting these quality levels?If we did achieve the required quality measures, how did this go? How can we even become more effective in achieving these?What did we learn about the quality level? Is it still good enough? Does quality needs to be raised?How does all this impact the Definition of Done? What will we improve in the Definition of Done? How will we reach this upgraded quality level?

I often hear teams saying they do not need the proposed three hours for a Sprint Retrospective per the Scrum Guide. My experiences with conversations only on quality and the Definition of Done is that the Sprint Retrospective needs to be well facilitated to stay within this three hours timebox, let alone to shorten it…

During the Sprint Retrospective, the Definition of Done brings transparency on the required quality measures of the solution. These need to be considered when discussing quality topics. It is expected the Scrum Team identifies the most helpful changes to improve its effectiveness, including upgrading their quality, their Definition of Done.

Together with your Scrum Team, evaluate how you can improve the use of your Definition of Done during Sprint Retrospectives to make reaching quality requirements more effective.


I hope you find value in these short posts and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to take contact.

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