Thursday, January 01, 2009

The meaning of "It's done"

A matter of style:
Our goal is not creating code or building widgets. It's getting a product to market. "It's done" means the product is ready to go.

"It's done, well except for that last bit of optimization" is nothing more than a lie, as that last little task is probably one of a dozen last little tasks, like testing the optimization, or updating the documentation, or going through the release procedure. Yet we know our supervisors want to hear "it's done" - sometimes, when a project is running months late, it's all they dream of - so we do a bit of truth management to get them off our back, to make them happier, or to relieve some of the pressure on us.

A wise boss hearing "it's done" will question you deeply to understand the exact level of "done". A novice - or one working in the desperation of excessive hope - may believe "done" means ready to ship, and start making commitments no one will live up to.


Change works best when we change the way we do things. Forget the vague promises - invent a new way of accomplishing your goal. Planning on reducing your drinking? Getting regular exercise? Develop a process that insures you're meeting your goal. Log the results daily.

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