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Acceptance Criteria Vs Definition of Done



Usually, while you're working with scrum teams, you'll hear terms like Definition of Done and Acceptance Criteria. There's a difference, and through this post, we'll try to clarify them.


Acceptance Criteria


In a project, you have requirements, also called user stories in scrum. They're written on index cards or post-it notes. On the front of the card, you'll write the user story/requirement, and at the back, you'll write the acceptance criteria.


By definition, acceptance criteria is criterion that a product requirement must meet to be considered complete.

Acceptance criteria (Example 1)


User story/Requirement: Allow the user to upload an image file.


Acceptance criteria: Allowable file formats (jpeg, png, gif).

Success message when the image is uploaded successfully


Acceptance Criteria (Example 2)


User story: Allow the user to change password


Acceptance criteria: Password should at least be of 8 characters.

Users cannot use the same password used before.

Password cannot start or end with a blank space.


So, for every user story that you write, you'll have to write it's acceptance criteria. Every user story has it's own unique acceptance criteria.


Definition of Done


To summarize, acceptance criteria are unique criteria that apply to a specific user story (it completes that user story). In contrast, the definition of done is common criteria that apply to all user stories in a sprint or project.me testing criteria.


Example of Definition of Done


Say, you are working on three user stories.


User story 1: Create a scrum presentation.

User story 2: Create a DevOps presentation

User story 3: Create a PMP Presentation


Definition of Done for these three user stories


  • Check that all presentations have page numbering.

  • Check all presentations for grammar and spelling mistakes.

  • Check all presentations have appropriate copyright information.

  • Check that all presentations have the company logo on each page.

  • Not more than seven bullet points per slide for all presentations.

  • At least 30% of all presentations should have visual images.


Notice that the list of criteria shown above applies to all three user stories.


Therefore, think of the Defintion of Done as common criteria that applies to all user stories.

Note that in the example above, the three user stories chosen were of the same nature, i.e. creation of presentations. In reality, your user stories could be different from each other. However, there will always be some standard testing criteria that could apply to all user stories.


To summarize, acceptance criteria are unique criteria that apply to a specific user story (it completes that user story). In contrast, the definition of done is common criteria that apply to all user stories in a sprint or project.


To learn more about how CareerSprints can help you kickstart your scrum career, consider registering for our Free 4 hour Scrum Webinar conducted by scrum experts, which covers the scrum basics. Unlike pre-recorded webinars, this one is a live class where you have the opportunity to ask questions to the instructor.

Following the webinar, you'll be able to register for the Foundational Certification in Agile Scrum (FCAS) exam and gain this certification.

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