Definition of Ready

Shared knowledge regarding what it means for a work item to be ready to be worked on
Contributed by

Matt Takane

Ilaria Doria

Published August 16, 2018

What Is Definition of Ready?

  • Criteria that is used to identify any work item as ready to be be taken by a team member and worked on
  • Collaboratively created, maintained and enforced criteria by the team

Why Do Definition of Ready?

  • Reduce scope creep on "in-flight" work items
  • Increase understanding of the work item when pulling it to be worked on

How to do Definition of Ready?

Tips for Remote Working

  • It is reasonably easy to find an agreement on both definition of ready and done remotely
  • One person can be a facilitator writing it based on everyone's input or everyone can co-edit
  • Use virtual white boarding tool and use techniques such as “roman voting’ or adding a sticky w/name to gain consensus.

An Example

Whilst Definitions of Ready should be specific to the teams using them, it helps to have an idea of what others teams are using. Included below is just one example current in use in AXA PPP Healthcare:


User Stories meet INVEST criteria

Independent (of all others) 

Negotiable (not a specific contract for features) 


Estimable (to a good approximation) 

Small (so as to fit within an iteration) 

Testable (in principle, even if there isn’t a test for it yet) 

Must have Acceptance Criteria

Look at Definition of Ready

Links we love

Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Definition of Ready practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.

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