"Never pull anything into a sprint that is not ready, and never let anything out of a sprint that is not done."
Creating a comprehensive "Definition of Done (DoD)" is a widely accepted Agile practice that fosters a culture of accountability, minimizes rework, and reduces team conflict. However, when a team first establishes a DoD, things often get worse before they get better. Why? Because the team no longer gets credit for incomplete work. Committed stories are started but not finished, multiple stories are carried over to the next sprint, and the team's velocity decreases. So what can be done to overcome this common problem?
An important tool to ensuring that stories are completed is an unambiguous Definition of Ready (DoR). Many Scrum-team issues are rooted in misunderstood and poorly prepared stories. In fact, I believe that stories that are NOT ready, but have been COMMITTED to a Sprint, are the root of all Scrum evil. Stories that are "ready" need to be clear, concise, and actionable.
In this hands-on presentation, I will demonstrate the methods that I have used with multiple teams to create stories that are truly ready for a Sprint, including:
• Creating a product vision to increase a shared understanding between customers, the product team, and the development team
• Building a Story Map to visualize the backlog, find missing stories, and understand customer journeys
• Collaborating on story writing using my three-touch grooming technique (speed grooming, sprint grooming, and sprint planning)
• Writing acceptance tests to decompose stories and uncover hidden questions
• Establishing a team-level "Definition of Ready (DoR)"
I hope that all participants leave this session understanding the importance of preparing stories that are “ready”. I also hope to provide practical and realistic techniques that can be applied immediately on any team that wants better stories and greater Sprint success.