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Definition of Done vs Acceptance Criteria

Author: Anna Schötz

· 2 mins read

Definition of done vs acceptance criteria? As a Scrum Master you may often be asked what the difference is between the Definition of done and the Acceptance Criteria. Therefore we have explained the difference here. 

What is a Definition of Done?  

A Definition of Done is a checklist of activities that must be checked off for each User Story. This means that they are activities that apply to each User Story.

The goal of a general checklist per User Story is:  

  1. Agreement between the development team and the product owner on when a user story is ready. Clear expectations are the basis for good collaboration. 
  2. Increasing the speed at which the work can be done. By having a universally applicable checklist available, high-quality work can be delivered quickly.  
  3. The Definition of Done is repeated at the beginning of each Sprint in the planning meeting. In addition, the Definition of Done is sharpened based on progressive findings. 

Goals of the Definition of Done  

The goals of the definition of done are, first, to clarify what the team can expect before work begins. They are also to ensure that there is a common understanding and that all team members know when a story is done.  

Example of “Definition of Done” in an IT Scrum Team 

  • All code has been written  
  • The required user documentation has been created and is available 
  • There are installation instructions for the software 
  • All functional tests have been performed 
  • The code has been peer-reviewed 

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Definition of Done vs Acceptance Criteria: What are the Acceptance Criteria?  

Now that the definition of done is clear, what are the acceptance criteria? Definition of done vs. acceptance criteria:The concept comes from Extreme Programming along with User Stories. The hallmark of the user story is that it is usually short and presents the requirements from the customer’s point of view. While these are discussed, the agreed confirmations are also usually agreed, these are the acceptance criteria.  

The user story is then considered completed and complete when it meets the acceptance criteria set. There can be more than one for this. An example is the following: As a consumer, I want to be able to add a product to the shopping cart so that I can buy it. The user story is then accepted if, for example, the added product is displayed in the shopping cart. Several criteria can then still be added to this.  

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The Definition of done and the Acceptance criteria are two different things with a different purposes. So the definition of done is the requirement checklist that applies to all user stories. The acceptance criteria are the specific details required to complete the user story. 

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