Achieving an Agreed upon Definition of “Done”

If you think your entire team has shared definition of the word “done,” you may be in for a surprise.

People tend to make interpretations on a personal set of beliefs, not a universal one. Because of this, there have been misunderstandings and miscommunication since the beginning of time. But there is hope for those that are interested in preventing issues when it comes to a project’s completion.

Context, for all intents and purposes, is paramount for this. It’s important to have criteria that dictate success. If the criteria aren’t met, then the project isn’t a success, and it can’t be done, therefore. If your project is being developed in iterations, you must assess each step for its ability to move you toward your goal. If you’re not moving forward, then the steps aren’t being done properly.

No matter how you slice it, there can and should be a cohesive definition of done. The good news is that it’s easy to create a standardized rubric for this purpose.

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