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What is the difference between Acceptance criteria and Definition of done?

Acceptance criteria and Definition of Done are two distinct concepts in Scrum, each serving a different purpose in the software development process:

Acceptance Criteria

    Acceptance criteria are specific, well-defined conditions or requirements that a user story or product backlog item must meet to be considered complete and ready for acceptance by the product owner or stakeholders. They are typically written by the product owner and serve as a means of defining the expected behavior and functionality of a particular user story. Acceptance criteria provide clarity and help ensure that the development team and product owner are on the same page regarding what constitutes a successful outcome for a given user story.

    Key points about acceptance criteria:

    • They are often written in collaboration between the product owner and the development team.
    • They are user-focused and describe the expected behavior or functionality from the user’s perspective.
    • They help guide the development team’s work and ensure they are building the right features.
    • They are specific and measurable, allowing for a clear assessment of when a user story is complete.

    Definition of Done

      The Definition of Done (DoD) is a set of criteria that apply to every user story, feature, or increment of the product. It outlines the minimum quality standards and completeness criteria that must be met for any work to be considered “done” within a Scrum team. The DoD is not specific to a single user story but is a set of general rules that apply to all user stories or product increments. It is used to maintain a consistent level of quality across the product and to ensure that items are potentially shippable at the end of a sprint.

      Key points about the Definition of Done:

      • It is a shared understanding within the Scrum team (including developers, testers, and other relevant roles) of what it means for a piece of work to be complete.
      • The DoD typically covers aspects like testing, documentation, integration, code review, and other quality-related requirements.
      • It helps prevent the accumulation of technical debt by ensuring that all work meets a baseline quality standard.
      • The DoD helps maintain transparency and makes it clear when a user story can be considered “done” and potentially shippable.

      In summary, acceptance criteria are specific conditions for individual user stories, while the Definition of Done is a set of general criteria that apply to all work in a Scrum project. Together, they help ensure that the product is developed with quality, aligning with user expectations and satisfying the team’s internal quality standards.

      Who writes acceptance criteria?

      In Scrum, acceptance criteria are usually developed by the Product Owner with input from the user, customer, or stakeholder. However, writing the criteria is not solely the responsibility of the Product Owner. Acceptance criteria should be developed as a joint effort between the development team and the Product Owner.

      Who writes the definition of done?

      In Scrum, the definition of done is a formal description of the state of the increment when it meets the quality measures required for the product. It is a checklist of valuable activities required to produce software. The definition of done is usually developed by the development team in collaboration with the Product Owner and Scrum Master.
      The definition od done can and should evolve and improve over time.

      The definition of done should be agreed upon by the full team—developers, product owner, and Scrum Master.

      Useful resources:

      Everything You Need to Know About Acceptance Criteria – Scrum Alliance.
      Successful Scrum Acceptance Criteria – Scrum Adventures.
      Difference between Acceptance Criteria and Done Criteria in Scrum
      Writing Effective Acceptance Criteria

      What is a Definition of Done?
      What is the Definition of Done?
      Why Use a Definition of Done in an Agile Project?

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