Bookend your #definitionofdone #agile #scrum


From the picture above, it is clear that the session has ended. But is the session really done? Has the host left the cleanup task to someone else?  Has he / she assumed that a clean up crew was on its way? Or perhaps, the next host would clean the mess up?

Last week, I asked my cohort to give me rapid fire answers to “Bookend” .  Here is their response:   Complete, This is what you get, No false promises, It is flexible (I am assuming they meant it is adjustable), shelf, weighing down, colors, hurling at us, strong.

Now what about bookending your definition of done?

Definition of Done can be described as a state when

“Conditions are met: and when something is considered complete”

But we are not able to verbalize it. Pen it down. Why? We assume a lot.

Because of the nature of complex lives and tasks we take on day in and day out –  and seamlessly flow in and out of them, a definition of done seems too silly. and bookends seems a waste of time. First,  a team should agree to a definition of done. Then they have to agree whether it is to a story or a task or an iteration!

For the session host above, it is clear that a missing activity to complete their session is “clean up”.  That is what I am attempting to reiterate when I mean Bookending DoD.  Why is it important?

-It shows that the team has left no stone unturned.

-Their work is considered complete and firm.

-Their work is weighed by the quality of their definition of done.

-They are not delivering anything in excess or less than what is written.

-They adjust their DoD based on the work that needs to be done.

-If they do not follow their DoD, then their work spills over, just like books in a shelf that do not have bookends.

I always ensure that there is some DoD up in the task board, even if it was scribbled at the last minute with a few chuckles. I then wait. Around the 3rd and 4th iterations, teams start realizing the value of this scribbled document. Then it gets a new lease of life.  And then adding clean-up tasks and bookending DoD makes complete sense.


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