Monday, March 27, 2023

Dear developer, how will you know when you're finished?

Under Construction sign

That thing you're working on:

  • How are you measuring progress?
  • Are you making progress?
  • Do others depend on what you're doing and need to know what you'll produce and when it will be finished?
  • How will others test it when you've finished?
  • How do you know you are going in the right direction?
  • How will you know when it's done?

You should probably work this out before you start!

A few years ago, I was invited to give a talk at university. I was asked to talk about how to think about building software. Very vague, but I interpreted it as a reason to talk about the things I think about before starting to code. 

Among the things I mentioned was the Definition of Done. (The best thing Scrum has given us.)

The students had never thought about this before.

The lecturers/tutors/staff had never thought of this before.

If you're not familiar, the idea is to specify/document how you'll know that you're finished. What are the things it needs to do? When they're all done, you've finished. 

They added it as something they teach as part of the curriculum!

Without knowing when you're done, it's hard to know when to stop.

Without knowing when you're done, you risk stopping too soon or not stopping soon enough.


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