You’re Done, but are you Done Done?

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Aug 08, 2016

It is a common question on projects I work on to ask, “is it done done?”
It’s an interesting question and I’ll admit, the first time in my professional career that I heard this, I had flashbacks from elementary school; my best friend asking me,
“do you like her?”
Me replying, “sure I like her.”
“No, do you like like her?”
Even at that young age I recognized the grammatical pattern. Saying the same word back to back, it completely changes the meaning.
“what do you mean like like?…I don’t know, let’s go play catch.”
Fortunately, at that age it is perfectly acceptable to just change the subject and move on.
Now, getting back to done done, it does have a special meaning. In the context of Agile/Scrum, what the person is asking is, have all the acceptance criteria for this user story been met or achieved? That might seem like a simple question to answer, provided that the proper level of collaboration and planning has taken place. But if not, it could be a difficult question to answer and worse yet, generate more questions and confusion rather than answers.
If the developer on the project believes that done means: all the code is done built and checked in, they might respond to the question, “yes, all my code is done and checked in”.  If the acceptance criteria of the user story stated: All code is complete and checked in, then the developer would have been correct in saying they were done. However, if the acceptance criteria also stated that all test cases are passing then while the task of writing the code is finished…done, the additional acceptance criteria related to testing is not done. Conclusion, we are not done done.  Quite often, my answer to “is it done done?” is, “hold on, let me take a look at the acceptance criteria for this user story.” There is where I will find the definition for done done. Let’s take a look at some acceptance criteria.
Acceptance Criteria:

  • All code is written and checked in and deployed
  • All test cases are passing
  • Developers supplied doughnuts for the team on Friday
  • UAT team has signed off

If the acceptance criteria are well written, they will provide a good basis for the types of tasks and test cases that should be added. Having these well-defined should provide adequate measure of done done.
And with that, I think I’m done done. I hope you liked this post, but if you like like it, then please press the “like” button.

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