Agile tasks lists, what does “done” mean in Agile?

by alexandrialecs100w

According to Merriam Webster, done is defined as adjective that describes something as arrived at or brought to an end. Although for Agile, there is no clear, pin-point definition for a project being “done”, but rather having “one common definition” of a finished and shippable product. In order to consider something “done” in scrum terms, it would be logical to use a “done thinking grid” like the image below:

As stated in previous blog posts of mine, Agile is a process where a large project is broken down into small tasks, and those small tasks are broken down even further, and overall, all these tasks are placed on a time line of when they need to be completed. Each task is placed into a section of the Sprint for the team to accomplish sprint by sprint. Once they complete all their task and complete the final needed sprint, the project can be considered to be DONE! This overall process would be shown on a task list, like the one below:

An agile task list is also known as a backlog, which I explained about in my blog 3. Now back to talking about what we consider “done”. When a team member completes a task, they can check it off the list, or move it to the next section of the task list. If we use the photo above for an example, the task would be moved from “in progress” to “ready to QA” and eventually to “validated”. Once a task gets to the end of its task list or “validated”, it can be considered done. It has been throughly checked and considered usable for the end of the sprint and even used for the shippable product.

However, just because a certain task has been completed or marked done, it does not mean that the team does not go back to it. By using Agile for their product development process, the team has given itself room to constant improvements; it has made itself flexible. Which means that if necessary, a team can go back and place a once finished task, back on the task list to be worked on again and most likely improved.

In the end, it is up to the development team to come up with their own definition of done. With the help of the sprint retrospective and experience, the definition of done will become more clear with every sprint completed. Overall, the most important factor to insert into your definition of done is to make sure you have produced a shippable and worthy product to your users.

Reference List:

Black, S., Boca, P., Bowen, J., Gorman, J., & Hinchey, M. (2009). Formal versus agile: Survival of the fittest. Westminster Research. Retrieved from

Gupta, M. (2008, September 3). Definition of Done: A Reference. Retrieved October 13, 2014.