What is the Increment and the Definition of Done?
What is an Increment? Does it always have to be releasable? Does it always need to be related in a Sprint? How does the Definition of Done relate to the increment? In this video blog, I’m going to talk about the increment – arguably the most important thing in Scrum.
An Increment is a concrete step toward the Product Goal. Each Increment is additive to all prior Increments and thoroughly verified to make sure that it works with all the other Increments. In order to provide value, the increment must be usable.
Multiple increments may be created within a Sprint. The sum of the increments is presented in the Sprint Review, thus supporting empiricism. However, an Increment may be delivered to the stakeholders prior to the end of the Sprint. The Sprint Review should never be considered a gate to releasing value. One more thing to note: work cannot be considered part of the Increment unless it meets our Definition of Done.
Now let’s talk about that commitment: the Definition of Done. The Definition of Done is a formal description of the state of the Increment when it meets the quality standards required for the product. The moment a Product Backlog item meets the Definition of Done, an Increment is born.
The Definition of Done creates transparency by providing everybody an understanding of what work was done as part of that Increment. If a Product Backlog item does not meet the Definition of Done, it cannot be released, nor can it even be presented at a Sprint Review. Instead, it returns to the Product Backlog for future consideration.
If the Definition of Done is part of the standards of the organization, all Scrum Teams must adhere to it at a minimum. If the Definition of Done is not a standard for the organization, the Scrum Team must create one appropriate for that product. Note, I said Scrum Team, which includes the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the Developers.
The Developers are required to conform to the Definition of Done. Note, when you’ve got multiple Scrum Teams working on the same product, there’s still only one Product Owner, one Product Backlog, one Product Goal. There really should only be one Definition of Done that we all mutually comply with.
Wrapping up, the Increment is a critical aspect of Scrum, representing a concrete step towards achieving the Product Goal. An Increment must be usable and meet your Definition of Done. Multiple Increments may be created within a Sprint. The Definition of Done is a formal description of the state of the Increment when it meets the quality standards required for the product. Work cannot be considered part of the Increment unless it meets the Definition of Done. By adhering to the Definition of Done, the Scrum Team can create transparency and ensure that all work is completed to the required standards.
Ultimately, the Increment and the Definition of Done are essential elements of Scrum to implement Empirical process control for product development. If Scrum were boiled down to one purpose, it would be the creation of Done Increments every Sprint.
If all of this information about Scrum is interesting to you and wish to expand your knowledge, we suggest you consider enrolling in one of our courses like the Applying Professional Scrum, Professional Scrum Master, or Professional Product Owner. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.