How to Craft a Tailored Definition of Done with F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D.

Definition of Done

A well-defined Definition of Done (DoD) is crucial for delivering high-quality work for teams using Scrum. It sets the standard for what it means to consider a product backlog item “done.” But how do you create a DoD that truly fits your team’s needs? In this article, we’ll explore the F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. acronym and show you how to use it to prompt discussions with your team to craft a tailored Definition of Done so you can develop high-quality products.

Confusion in Defining Done

Teams often struggle with confusion when defining the criteria for work to be considered “done.” This lack of clarity can result in misalignment, where team members have different understandings of completion. It can also lead to scope creep, where the project extends beyond its intended boundaries. Unresolved issues and missed opportunities for improvement can arise, ultimately affecting the quality of the final product. Users, in turn, may face challenges such as poor product quality, unmet expectations, delays, and insufficient documentation, which can impact their overall experience. A well-defined Definition of Done (DoD) addresses these issues by establishing clear quality standards, ensuring that users have a consistent and positive experience with the delivered product.

F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. – Prompts to Craft Your Definition of Done

The F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. acronym provides valuable prompts to help teams initiate meaningful discussions and collaboratively craft their Definition of Done (DoD). By using this acronym as a guide, teams can align their understanding of completion and establish clear quality standards. It serves as a catalyst for conversations among team members, fostering collaboration and ensuring that everyone’s perspectives are taken into account to ensure quality. Together, the team can tailor the criteria within the F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. framework to match their specific context and project requirements, ultimately paving the way for a shared vision of clarity and excellence in their Definition of Done. So, without further ado, here it is:

🎯 Functional: Ensure the product backlog item meets its intended purpose and passes all acceptance criteria.

🔗 Integrated: Incorporate the item seamlessly into the larger product or process.

🚫 No Known Issues/Bugs: Address and resolve all known issues and bugs related to the item.

🔍 Inspected: Subject the item to rigorous peer and stakeholder reviews for exceptional quality.

🛠️ Supportable: Ensure the item is designed for easy maintenance and future modifications.

📏 Honors Standards: Comply with relevant compliance standards and guidelines.

📚 Essential Documentation: Complete and update all required internal and end-user documentation.

🚀 Deployment Ready – Ideally, all the necessary preparations for delivery to users and production have been completed. The item should be in a state where it is releasable at any time. This may or may not mean the item has been released.

Consider utilizing F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. as a springboard to stimulate thoughtful discussions within your team, aiming to construct a Definition of Done (DoD) that resonates with your product’s unique requirements. While it may not provide an exhaustive checklist for your DoD, it does encompass commonly neglected areas, thereby sparking creative brainstorming and reducing blind spots. Adopt an iterative approach and regularly refine your DoD in response to the evolution of your product and team dynamics. By crafting a custom-tailored DoD informed by the F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. framework, you enable your team to deliver high-quality work that aligns with both customer needs and organizational objectives.

Resources To Help You

To help you visualize and share the F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. prompts, we’ve created two versions of our infographic: abridged and unabridged. Download them to help you and your team to craft their Definition of Done.


Infographic showing the F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. acronym for crafting a Definition of Done. Unabridged.
The F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. framework is a helpful tool for teams to craft a tailored Definition of Done. The framework stands for Functional, Integrated, No Known Issues/Bugs, Inspected, Supportable, Honors Standards, and Essential Documentation. Each criterion can be tailored to meet the specific needs of a team and project. Unabridged version.


An infographic showing the F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. acronym for crafting a tailored Definition of Done.
The F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. acronym is a helpful tool for teams to craft a tailored Definition of Done. The framework stands for Functional, Integrated, No Known Issues/Bugs, Inspected, Supportable, Honors Standards, and Essential Documentation. Each criterion can be tailored to meet the specific needs of a team and product. Abridged.

Note I am wondering if this is too long of an acronym. I have tried to use FINISH, but it seemed too light. So, I would love suggestions and feedback if there are ways to make this more concise yet still comprehensive enough.

What’s Next?

We try to make Scrum simple and hope this makes it easier to facilitate discussions with your team on creating and improving your Definition of Done. So, give it a whirl and let us know how it goes.

If you are eager to delve deeper into Agile and Scrum, I invite you to join my Certified ScrumMaster Course, where Scrum is made simple and enjoyable to learn. Enhance your Scrum skills and boost your team’s effectiveness. For educators, we have designed and adapted Scrum and other Agile approaches for the classroom; check out our Certified Agile Teacher Workshop.

Thanks For “Finishing” The Article,

John Miller


  1. Nagesh on 06/06/2023 at 6:48 am

    Good Content

  2. Timo on 06/06/2023 at 8:07 am

    That looks useful to me. I just gave a German translation a try. I invite you to use it if you want:

    E ntsprechend Bedürfnissen
    R eif für Produktion
    L langfristig wartbar
    E inwandfrei ohne bekannte Fehler
    D okumentiert
    I ntegriert
    G geprüft durch Team und Anspruchsberechtigte
    T echnische Standards erfüllt

    Best regards, Timo

    • John Miller on 06/13/2023 at 3:11 pm

      Excellent, thank you!

      • Balaji on 06/16/2023 at 11:29 am

        Thanks John for the wonderful explanation.

        I would like to get some clarity on the difference between DoD & the Sub- Tasks of an User Story. Can DoD be defined in the form of Sub- Tasks?

  3. eckart on 06/20/2023 at 6:30 am

    Thanks to TImo for the german adaption 🙂

  4. Om Patel on 07/14/2023 at 2:23 pm

    Nice one John!

    May I have your permission to use it in my trainings?

    Thank you.

    • John Miller on 07/20/2023 at 5:03 pm

      Of course, with attribution. Please link to my site.

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