Good Buddies – Work Agreement, Acceptance Criteria, Definition of Done

When you give a question to audience with no response, it is worth to be described.

There are three commonly used terms in Scrum, which are confusing sometimes. Can you specify a clear boundary between them, and use each appropriately when needed?

Work Agreement:

  • Respect the team and attend stand-up meeting on time
  • Inform involving parties timely when sprint backlog is updated. Give a quick brief in next daily stand-up
  • Developer shall inform testing team whenever there is logical change in coding, so that testing team may analysis correlated test cases

Work Agreement is target on people’s behavior. It needs to be informed and agreed upon the whole dev team.

It exists to ensure the efficiency of product delivering. It helps to crease the predictability of team’s actions.

Eventually, work agreement shall be eliminated and become habit of a performing team.


Acceptance Criteria (AC):

  • I can see a input box, allowing me to key in account name
  • The account name shall fulfill a given rule
  • I shall see an error when the given rule is not fulfilled

Acceptance criteria is listed in each story, to describe a certain use scenario. It may be unique for each story.

It shall be described in a statement, and it can be validated with a binary result (yes or no).

Ideally, the acceptance criteria can be used as test cases.

Definition of Done (DoD):

  • Requirement done: fulfill INVEST principle; etc
  • Development done: coded reviewed; coding standard fulfilled; unit test; code merged; etc
  • Testing done: case reviewed; case executed; bug tracked and re-validated; Reported; etc
  • Integration done: all pipelines are executed on all environments, with no errors; etc
  • User story done: all of above are done
  • Sprint done: all of above are done; PO verified; feedback tracked; retrospective held; etc
  • Release done: all of above are done; UAT passed; known issue tracked; transition plan ready; etc

Definition of done is necessary, when there is unavoidable interfaces between parties. The demands could be vary between these interfaces, therefore it is essential to clarify the boundary to avoid assumptions.

The set of definition of done shall be identified from very beginning, and be strengthen across the life cycle of  a development project. It is generally agreed upon all project sprints.

In a performing team, the maintaining cost of DoD can be very low.

To conclude,

  • A good set of work agreement will reduce conflict of team
  • A good use of acceptance criteria will improve understanding of requirements
  • A good definition of done will allow the deliverable be more predictable


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