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Definition of Ready

Grooming the product backlog should ensure that items at the top of the backlog are ready to be moved into a sprint so that the development team can confidently commit and complete them by the end of a sprint.

Some Scrum teams formalize this idea by establishing a definition of ready. You can think of the definition of ready and the definition of done (see Chapter 4) as two states of product backlog items during a sprint cycle (see Figure 6.10).

Figure 6.10

Figure 6.10. Definition of ready

Both the definition of done and the definition of ready are checklists of the work that must be completed before a product backlog item can be considered to be in the respective state. An example of a definition-of-ready checklist for product backlog items is given in Table 6.2.

Table 6.2. Example Definition-of-Ready Checklist

Definition of Ready

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Business value is clearly articulated.

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Details are sufficiently understood by the development team so it can make an informed decision as to whether it can complete the PBI.

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Dependencies are identified and no external dependencies would block the PBI from being completed.

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Team is staffed appropriately to complete the PBI.

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The PBI is estimated and small enough to comfortably be completed in one sprint.

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Acceptance criteria are clear and testable.

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Performance criteria, if any, are defined and testable.

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Scrum team understands how to demonstrate the PBI at the sprint review.

A strong definition of ready will substantially improve the Scrum team’s chance of successfully meeting its sprint goal.

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