Hopefully I lured you in because you’re looking for ways to make sure you don’t set yourself or your team up for failure. Look no further! Actually the first rule of online is you should look & learn further and not blindly trust an agile creative dude on the internet. Still I hope this visualization and background give you a nudge in the right direction. Could also have called it “How to Make a Good Story Great!”
> Free high-res download of visualization at bottom of post
When teams and organisations start out with working agile, they often struggle how much preparation they need to make sure the work flows. It doesn’t matter whether you work Scrum, Kanban, XP or <insert your agile team flavor here>. If you don’t put enough thinking into the work before you pick it up, you are often bound to crash. Halfway during the work you end up adjusting the goal, questioning the chosen direction, finding out you need others to finish it, and the list of hurt goes on and on and on…
What I teach teams I coach is that you might want to challenge work you want to pick up next against the INVEST acronym. After that you’re way less prone to failing because you thought about the right characteristics before jumping in. It supports the organization with splitting large chunks of work and making sure there is value in the things we do. It helps the team by making sure the experts can decide on how to do the work and that we know we will be able to finish it. You can see what INVEST stands for in the visualization. For more information you can read the explaining blog post below from the mastermind behind it; @Bill Wake.
The Scrum Guide has a chapter on the Definition of Done [web], but not on the Definition of Ready. Seeing how too often teams/organizations start treating the Definition of Ready as an ‘entry contract,’ I can relate to that decision. There is value in getting things straight before starting, not so much in blocking advancement. In the bigger picture it’s not so helpful if you keep sending stakeholders away and tell them to ‘sort it all out’ first. There is much more value in the team and stakeholders collaborating to create a common understanding. That way you help and educate them to come better prepared next time.
Would love to hear in the comments when you found this helpful or have other feedback.
> Here you can download a high-resolution image to print: Definition of Ready [pdf]