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Definition of Ready in Scrum

Author: Anna Schötz

· 2 mins read

What is the Definition of Ready?  

The definition of ready helps the team be more transparent about how they will get the work done. A similar concept is a definition of done. Compared to the definition of done, you use the definition of ready to determine if the work can even be started. That is, if you think you and your team refined the user story or product backlog item detailed enough that you can put them in your next sprint.

The reason for this is that if the development team does not understand the Product Backlog Items accurately, development effort and time usually increase significantly. Then the team may miss the sprint goal or fail to deliver the desired product on time. This is where the definition of ready comes in handy. The quality of the product backlog item has a direct influence on the team.  

What Does the Definition Look Like?

Independent and immediately actionable  Product Backlog items are independent of each other in the Sprint so that they can be reprioritized and better estimated. It also avoids unnecessary planning efforts for their implementation. All prerequisites are resolved before the sprint starts. Implementers provide feedback that they can begin. 
Negotiable  PBIs are negotiable so that the details can be determined during the conversation to identify better or more favorable options. 
Valuable  PBIs add value to the customer so that only requirements that add value are implemented and so that only what is needed is implemented. Backlog items that are not ready do not deliver value. 
Estimable PBIs can be estimated. In this way, it can be seen whether the implementers understand the backlog item from a business and technical point of view. 
Small PBIs are the right size to be implemented in one iteration.
Testable PBIs are testable by the customer. They have acceptance criteria. 
  • If you want to schedule the product backlog items into the sprint, you need to refine them very well and therefore “ready”. 

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How to Use the Definition of Ready  

During the Product Backlog Refinement the Scrum Team looks at whether the Product Backlog Items are ready. If not, you need to work them out in detail. The Definition of Ready is an important part that the team defines together at the beginning of a project. 

Examples of a Definition of Ready  

  • Product Backlog Item (PBI) is small enough (e.g. 4-5 user stories fit into one sprint) 
  • everyone in the team understands the PBI well
  • the Team did estimate the Product Backlog Items
  • PBI has acceptance criteria (min. 1) 
  • The Stakeholders understand the Acceptance criteria
  • PBI has a value 

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