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You don’t know when you’re done if you don’t know what done is

08 Aug

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, we are working hard on a 2.0 version of the product. One of the questions our team is asked quite frequently is “when will it be ready?” This question is impossible for us to answer, because ready is not defined. It’s one of the dangers of working without a real spec.

There are a lot reasons why we don’t use a real spec, none of which are up to me so I’ll not discuss them here.

Whenever 2.0 gets close to what everyone thinks we have agreed on, people look and poke at it, decide they don’t like things or realize nobody ever asked for critical feature x, or it somehow didn’t make it onto our bug list, and then we have to go back and get new designs, file a bunch of bugs, and set a new milestone. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It’s not just for 2.0 that it works this way, it’s whenever you’re working without a complete spec. When the goal posts for done are constantly moving, the question of “when will it be done?” Is really a question of “when will the goal posts stop moving?”

To break the cycle, we’re picking a done date, and mandating that the goal posts stop moving some time before that date. Working towards that, we’ve submitted our “last chance” milestone, meaning after this milestone any decisions/changes/designs must be final, because we’re going to call it done when those have been implemented, or when we hit our chosen date, whichever comes first.

 

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  1. James Hartig (fastest963)

    August 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Ya, 2.0 looks awesome! But there are a lot of minor bugs, trust me guys. When it is ready it will come. The Grooveshark guys have been working really hard and they want perfection.

    Stay tuned!

     
  2. Jay

    August 8, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Oh, trust me, if it was just a question of when will all of the random bugs be fixed, we could set a date for when things will be done. It’s when new code needs to be written because a design or feature wasn’t fully thought out and now it has to be rewritten, that’s what makes it impossible to say when. Not only do we not know about those changes yet, but we don’t know if there will be more after those, and we definitely don’t know how many new bugs will be introduced as a result. ;)