Defining "done"

To some degree, most big-project teams can articulate what they’re doing in terms of activities or deliverables. They can say something like “We’re doing an ERP program” or “We’re designing systems that will give us a better picture of our shop floor processes."

The teams can often state objectives for the program, and explain more or less convincingly why the project has been undertaken. They may say, “We’re changing our ERP system to get a better picture of our costs” or “We’re building systems that will enable us to interact more efficiently with our partners and customers."

But in reality -- in the largest household name companies in the country as well as companies you've never heard of -- there are often huge gaps between the completed deliverables and the satisfaction felt by the program stakeholders when each program milestone is “done.” In part, this is often because different parties have different expectations of what "done" is and what it takes to get to "done."

One essential thing we help our clients do is to define "done" for each milestone of their program. In a nutshell, our methods help companies “define done” in a way that ensures that:

  • Expectations are defined, aligned and communicated -- not only for internal teams but for external teams as well, such as business partners and third parties such as systems integrators.
  • “Success” is not only defined for each milestone, but it’s achievable and you'll have criteria by which you can judge whether you've reached “success.”
  • Deliverables entail a justifiable amount of resources and manpower in the context of the expected benefits.

> Defining done is critical to creating "achievable" plans and estimates -- find out more