Definition of READY

Is there any prerequisite for starting a sprint?
As Scrum defines, there are two critical stages in the process: READY & DONE. The Product Owner can easily double the velocity of a Scrum team by getting Product Backlog to a high READY state. Team can easily double story process efficiency by delivering as per their agreement of DONE. Individual self-organization can further enhance team velocity. Let's focus on prerequisite of starting a sprint i.e. being READY.

RULE OF THUMB: Definition of READY
  • User Story is READY if a team can implement it, and a Product Owner can prioritize it.
  • The Backlog is READY when about 1.5-2 times Sprint's worth of User Stories at the top of the backlog is READY, and those user stories are sufficiently small to allow good team flow.
  • Team is READY when every team member is self-organized.

Here is a visual aid for your slide deck. 

Let's review User Stories in more details. A User Story (backlog item) can be considered READY if:
    • It is defined as need, conversations, and confirmations [reference].
    • It follows INVEST (independent, negotiable, valuable, estimable, and testable) principals [reference].
    • It is small enough to fit inside a sprint. Larger stories should be reformulated and splitted before the sprint planning to be considered "Ready".
    • It has unique priority in relation to every other story in the product backlog.
    • It has been estimated (in story points) by the team.
    • It does not have any known dependency that can block the completion of story.

Don't let anything that's not READY into your Sprint, and let nothing escape that's not DONE. Also, don't forget to check more Agile Helpline Rules of Thumb here.

Mr. Agile is talking about user story readiness to Sarah in Agile Helpline series of Agile Bites. Enjoy this cool video and let Mr. Agile know if you would like to learn about any specific Agile topic.

  • Definition of READY [article]
  • Definition of DONE [article]
  • Agile Rules of Thumb [rules
  • User story and backlog management [article
  • Flow to READY, Iterate to DONE [article]


  1. Good article.
    I have a written an article on 'Managing the iteration Flow--Getting Ready-Ready for user stories in an agile iteration'
    The link of the article is here -

    Tribhuwan Negi