Definition of Ready

Being “agile,” it seems like things are always changing. As we do both team and organizational retrospectives, we are always finding new tips and tricks to improve the entire Bellese organization. A Definition of Ready is a new tool we are adding to our toolset, and here is a little guide to what it is and why we need it.

What is a Definition of Ready?

There are 2 definitions of ready: Definition of Program Increment (PI) ready and Definition of Sprint ready. These provide a checklist of pre-conditions to be fulfilled for each Product Backlog Item (PBI). We can think of these as bouncers at a bar who won’t let in PBIs that don’t satisfy the checklist. You forgot your ID? You’re not allowed in! Same thing… if a PBI doesn’t meet the ready definitions, then it’s not allowed in (yet!) This checklist will act as an indicator for the PBI of everything it needs before a team can complete it.

Why have a Definition of Ready?

How many times has your team been blocked because you were waiting for something from someone else? Or how many times did a PBI’s estimate drastically increase due to a misunderstanding of scope and/or the work involved? These definitions are a means of trying to fix these problems. They act as a single source of truth for our entire organization of when a PBI is truly ready so developers can more easily pick it up and work as soon as the sprint starts. The Definition of Ready will be applied to each story during sprint prep and sprint planning to see if all checklist items are met. If not, we will identify how to get the stories to their ready state.

Being “agile,” things ARE constantly changing, and in fact, these definitions might change. We might decide as an organization that we all want to add something! Please ensure that you expressing thoughts and suggestions on the agile tools we are using (and maybe even ones we are NOT using) so that we can continue to grow as an organization. Truly agile organizations grow just as much as the individuals inside them!