The Definition of Ready (DoR) is used to determine whether a User Story is sufficiently complete to be included in a Sprint backlog.
The purpose of Backlog Refinement is to ensure that there are sufficient high priority stories that are Ready at Sprint Planning to create a full Sprint Backlog. The decision of whether a Story is Ready is made by the Development Team in Sprint Planning.
User Stories which do not meet the DoR cannot be taken into the Sprint backlog, even if they are the highest priority items, as the lack of readiness / content that is important for success, which will reduce the team’s velocity and/or ability to deliver the User Story.
A “good” example of a Definition of Ready needs to take into account the following concepts, though the Engagement Manager will need to clarify the specific DoR needs of their client’s environment:
The business value is clearly articulated
The User Story has been estimated.
The User Story is clear enough to be understood by the development team, in the sprint planning meeting
Acceptance criteria are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely)
Team members understand how to demonstrate the story to the product owner, and the product owner understands how to demonstrate the feature to their user community
Dependencies are identified, and no external dependencies would block the story from being completed. (or the client PM has accepted the risks of including the story in the iteration/sprint)
Business Test Data to the test the User Story is in place or can be created during the iteration/sprint by one of the team. (if it is not in place it is a dependency, see previous point 6.)
All requirements have been defined and are measurable, including:
Business and User / Stakeholder
Non-functional (quality of service)
Implementation (including Cutover and Transition)
The story is small enough to be comfortably completed in one iteration/sprint, ie does not need breaking down into sub-stories (indicating it may be an “Epic”)
Story has been created in JIRA (or whatever tool is used to document and manage User Stories) with all the above information