Definition of Ready in Scrum

Definition of Ready in Scrum

📅 Thursday, September 28, 2023

What does the Scrum framework say about "readiness"? Let's explore its significance. In the Scrum Guide, "ready" is discussed in relation to Product Backlog items. To be selected in a Sprint Planning event, items must be ready for the Scrum Team to complete within one Sprint. This readiness is achieved through ongoing Product Backlog refinement, where items are broken down and defined with details like description, order, and size.

Scrum elements connected to readiness include:

  • the Product Backlog,
  • the Definition of Done commitment,
  • the Sprint event,
  • the Sprint Planning event,
  • the Pillar of Transparency,
  • the aforementioned Backlog Refinement activity.

Readiness is crucial for transparency and preparation for upcoming Sprints. However, "ready" doesn't mean that items in the Product Backlog or Sprint Backlog remain unchanged. Both are dynamic and may evolve throughout the Sprint.

In addition, the Scrum Guide doesn't mandate a "Definition of Ready." While it's not required, paying attention to the readiness of Product Backlog items is essential to avoid unnecessary challenges for the Scrum Team.

The "Definition of Ready" can enhance Scrum practices. It helps in learning, efficient Sprint Planning, and keeping teams motivated and focused. Criteria for a Definition of Ready may include:

  • Product Backlog Item is INVEST,
  • Acceptance Criteria,
  • estimation,
  • size constraints,
  • identifying external dependencies.

As there is no silver bullet, it should be always tailored to the team's needs.

The Definition of Ready is not an absolute requirement in Scrum, but it can be a helpful practice. However, it's essential to avoid overemphasis on it and not neglect the Definition of Done. Creating valuable usable Done Product Increment(s) every Sprint is essential. It's better to deliver something done, instead of ending up with Product Backlog Items perfectly prepared for the Sprint and not completed.

The question of whether the Definition of Ready is a friend or a foe depends on its application. It can be beneficial, but there are risks involved. Paying too much attention to it can lead to issues like paralysis during Sprint Planning, blame games, and reduced flexibility. You should carefully assess whether it brings value to your Agile and Scrum journey.

In summary, readiness is significant in Scrum, but it doesn't mean rigidly defined items in the Backlogs. The Definition of Ready is not a mandatory practice, and its usefulness depends on how it's applied and adapted to the team's context.

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