Done is ...
- For tasks. It means I’ve completed everything I need to do that is part of my job description and that I’m empowered to complete. For example, in software development, this could mean:
- The code is written, unit tested, and peer-reviewed and is ready for the build master, or uploaded to the automated build server to run that night, etc.
- The functional testing is complete and regression tests or the test report now can be finished.
Done-done is ...
- For major or significant deliverables. It means the functional unit (research and development, inside sales, marketing, professional services, etc.) has completed what they need to do and that deliverable is now ready for whomever needs to do their part with it next. It’s complete, but there’s still more work to do before it can be released for internal or external customer use. For example, the software build package successfully completed all required testing, and the remaining end-user documentation with GUI screenshots can now be produced.
Done, done, and done is ...
- When the deliverable is now releasable or is released and ready for operational and customer use. It is the minimally viable or completed solution coming out of an interim sprint or the final sprint of the project.
For example, at a lot of companies, this is when the iteration, phase, cycle, or final sprint is successfully completed and the company now can begin to earn revenue by selling and deploying the product.
The great thing is that these three tiers of “done” apply to software and hardware development initiatives: IS, IT, and platform opportunities; process and other continuous improvement activities; construction of data centers; and anything that requires the efforts of more than one functional group member and that needs to be released to the business or customers.
In my mind, “done” mind is mostly about the task, story, business deliverable, or product being ready for transition to the next person, group, or stage. With that, I’ll leave you with a few final thoughts and guideposts.
We all know it’s about getting work done through other people, so depending on how clearly these tiers or definitions of “done” are defined, someone on the team eventually may still say something akin to “Oh, I thought you meant… ”
Combined with the definition of a project as a temporary and unique initiative, allowing some operations manager or group to standardize these definitions of “done” for all projects going forward more often than not just breeds more trouble—extrapolation between projects aside.