A Simple Life!

The Definition of Done is an important Agile technique to help teams plan and execute work.   The simplest definition of the Definition of Done is the criteria that a work product must meet to be considered to be complete. While the concept is simple, the implementation of the technique in the real world is rarely simple. Both context and interpretations make things just a bit gray! (more…)

Danger - Keep Off Track High Voltage

I was recently asked if a story was done if when implemented it would break production. The suggestion is that since the specific code meets the requirements identified in the user story and was unit tested the team should be able to celebrate success and put another story on the backlog to fix the problem that would lead to a production failure. This, not a rare or silly question. Before we look at the reason why someone might ask this question let’s deal with a black and white answer. The most succinct answer to the question is always, “no, the story is not done”. The reason is that the story is not implementable and unless the goal of the story is blow up production and anger customers it can’t be considered done. There are four common scenarios that generate the is a story done if it breaks production question. (more…)


A short sprint

In recent exchange after the 16th installment of the re-read Saturday of the Mythical Man-Month, Anteneh Berhane called me to ask one of the hardest questions I had ever been asked:

Why doesn’t the definition of done include value?

At its core, the question asks how can we consider work “done” if there is no business value delivered, even if the definition of done is satisfied including demonstrably meeting acceptance criteria. Is software are really done if the business need has changed so what was delivered is technically correct, but misses the mark based on the business environment today? This is a scenario I was all to familiar with during the 1980s and 1990s at the height of large waterfall projects, but see less in today’s Agile development environment.  Anteneh Berhane’s question reminds us that the problem is still possible.  We discussed five potential problems that disrupt the linkage between done and value.  Today we will discuss the first two and here are the remaining three. (more…)