Project management – are you done yet?

What happens when a project manager asks one of his team members “Are you done yet”?

If you are an experienced project manager, the following scenario sounds very familiar. If you are new to this game, take my word for it: This will happen to you!

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Contributors to this article: R.U. Dunyet (a.k.a. red) [http://www.projectmangler.com]

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(Monday)

Red: Are you done with this Friday?

Developer: Oh yeah. I’m actually ahead of schedule.

(Wednesday)

Red: Are we still on our way to Friday?

Developer: Uh, no problem.

(Friday morning)

Red: Are you done?

Developer: No, but I should be done today. If it might be necessary to stay late, but I don’t see why I couldn’t finish this evening.

(Friday night)

Red: Are you done?

Developer: No, but as I said this morning, I’ll be working late tonight to finish it.

(Monday)

Red: Are you done?

Developer: Um, No. But I’m very close.

(Wednesday)

Red: Are you done yet?

Developer: I ran into some integration issues because so and then did not properly explain his interface. But no worries, he will help me this afternoon to integrate it. I’ll let you know when we’re done.

(Friday)

Red: Are you done yet?

Developer: I work as soon as possible! Didn’t I tell you when I was done!

What do they mean by “Almost done”?

The most popular answer to “How’s your function?” question is “I’m almost done”. But what do developers mean by “almost”? And what about “done”?

I’ve had developers tell me they were done when they actually hadn’t even committed their code to the source repository. When I asked them what they meant by, they replied that their code worked on their machine. Sure, they hadn’t committed their code, integrated their feature, installed it in the daily build, or developed unit tests yet, but that’s something you do when you’re done, right? Wrong!

lessons

Don’t ask wandering questions like “Are you done yet” and then walk away. Drill the developer for more details. Ask for specific supplies such as Software Requirement Specifications (SRS), a feature demo, unit test results, or better yet, get one of your testers to write a test case based on SRS and have him perform it against the daily build. If the test case does not pass, the function is not done!

Don’t be a pest. There are developers who have proven time and time again that they will develop features on time and according to specifications, and there is no need to annoy them. But let everyone know that you want an accurate report on everyone’s status and do whatever it takes to get it.