Product Increment and the Definition of Done in a Nutshell

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The Product Increment is the output of every Sprint and is an increment that brings the team one step closer to the overall Product Goal. This means that each Sprint is focused on a cohesive set of Product Backlog Items that meet a Sprint Goal and not random unrelated items. Once a Sprint starts and the team establishes a Sprint Goal, the team does not accept change requests that will disrupt the team from accomplishing the Sprint Goal and delivering the Product Increment. Any such changes will go into the Product Backlog to be considered for future Sprints.

The Product Increment is built iteratively and incrementally which means it includes all prior increments plus what was just built. This means the team continuously delivers products from Sprint to Sprint and regularly gets feedback ensuring the team is always working on the most valuable items. The Product Increment is a useful, valuable, and usable Product Increment and must be at a level of quality as per the Team’s Definition of Done.

The Definition of Done is the team’s auditable quality checklist. It is established as part of the team’s working agreement at the very beginning and then gets strengthened over time. The Definition of Done is not established in Sprint Planning because it does not change from Product Backlog Item to Product Backlog Item as it has more to do with how the team operates to ensure quality and less to do with the actual requirement they are building. Over time, the team improves its processes via regular retrospectives and updates its Definition of Done accordingly.

It is important to note that the team does not need to wait until the end of the Sprint to deliver the increment and can deliver multiple increments within the Sprint as long as the increment is a quality increment that meets the team’s Definition of Done.

And that’s the Product Increment, a working, useful, valuable, increment that’s delivered every Sprint, includes all previous Product Increments, and is at a level of quality as defined by the team’s Definition of Done.

For more details, sign up for an upcoming foundational ScrumMaster® (CSM®) class or a Certified Product Owner® (CSPO®) class or Certified Scrum Developer® (CSD®) class.

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