In Scrum, the Product Backlog Items are refined, during the activity of “Backlog Refinement”, until they are “Ready” for selection in Sprint Planning. To determine the items that are ready it is important that Scrum teams consider “Definition of Ready”. In fact, the Definition of Ready helps Product Owners to indicate an item in the Product Backlog as ready to work in a Sprint.
Definition of Ready
Definition of Ready provides a shared understanding between the Product Owner and the Development Team concerning the level of description that each item should have before introducing them in Sprint Planning. The team can use this standard as a guideline to refine or break up the items.
In addition, it also provides a certain level of transparency to the team so they can estimate the effort and verify that they can get them “Done” within a Sprint.
The user stories
Having a Definition of Ready means that stories must be immediately actionable. “Ready” stories should be clear, concise, and most importantly, actionable.
It’s clear that a user story has to meet a set of minimum criteria before it’s ready for inclusion in the work of the next sprint. This set of minimum criteria is the Definition of Ready that should be agreed upon by the Scrum team.
In addition, some companies actually require a detailed checklist to determine whether a story is really “Ready”. This simple additional step will have an immediate and strong impact on the Team’s productivity.
Keep in mind
The Product Owner is responsible for putting the features and stories in the backlog. However, the Team must work with the Product Owner during Backlog Refinement. This will help to get the stories into actionable shape.
The team must understand the amount of work required to complete the User Story. Only then the Team will be able to estimate how much work any one story will take. So, it is important to have a story in an actionable state, estimated at the right size, prioritized to business value.