Understanding Acceptance Criteria and the Definition of Done in Agile-Hybrid-Hybrid

Hello, Fellow Methodology Enthusiasts!

In agile-hybrid development, a question often surfaces: “What separates acceptance criteria from the definition of done?” Let’s delve into this topic.

Acceptance Criteria: The Fine Details

Acceptance criteria serve as the unique fingerprint of each product backlog item. They highlight what’s essential for the product owner, and any deviation may lead to rejection.

Definition of Done: A Universal Benchmark

Conversely, the definition of done acts as a universal checklist that most backlog items must adhere to. It establishes a shared standard for quality and completeness.

A Real-World Example

Scenario: Sales Opportunity in Salesforce

Definition of Done (DoD):

  • The Definition of Done is a universal set of criteria that every sales opportunity needs to meet at various stages in the sales cycle.
  • Initially, the DoD includes requirements such as:
    • The opportunity has a valid lead source
    • The opportunity has an associated contact
    • The opportunity is assigned to a sales rep
  • As the opportunity progresses through stages, additional DoD items are added, such as:
    • The opportunity has a detailed product configuration
    • The opportunity has budgetary approval
    • The opportunity has an associated support plan
  • These criteria evolve and expand as the opportunity advances in the sales cycle. The Definition of Done reflects the necessary steps and information needed to consider an opportunity at each stage “done.”

Acceptance Criteria (AC):

  • Acceptance criteria are specific to each sales opportunity and may vary based on the characteristics of the opportunity or the client’s specific requirements.
  • Initially, the acceptance criteria may include items like:
    • The opportunity must have a budget of at least $10,000.
    • The client must have expressed a clear need for the product.
    • The opportunity must align with the client’s budget cycle.
  • As the opportunity progresses, new acceptance criteria emerge, such as:
    • The client must have completed a product demonstration.
    • The opportunity must have passed a legal review.
    • The client must provide a letter of intent to purchase.
  • Acceptance criteria are tailored to the unique characteristics and requirements of each opportunity. They can change from one opportunity to another, depending on the client’s needs and circumstances.

Over Time Comparision:

  • In the early stages of a sales opportunity, the Definition of Done remains relatively simple and consistent. It includes foundational requirements that apply to most opportunities, such as lead source, contact, and sales rep assignment.
  • Acceptance criteria in the early stages are highly tailored to the specific opportunity and may involve factors like budget and client needs, which can vary significantly between opportunities.
  • As the opportunity advances, both the Definition of Done and Acceptance Criteria become more complex and detailed.
  • The Definition of Done continues to expand and becomes more specific to each stage, ensuring that all critical steps are completed before moving to the next stage.
  • The Acceptance Criteria may evolve based on the changing dynamics of the opportunity, reflecting the unique requirements of each client and the progressing sales cycle.

This example highlights how the Definition of Done and Acceptance Criteria work in tandem but serve different purposes. The Definition of Done provides a universal guideline for sales opportunities, while Acceptance Criteria are specific to individual opportunities and adapt to the evolving needs of clients.

Written by

Feona Nowak





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