Basically Done


One of our contract programmers tells me that his current project is “basically done.”

“It’s done or it’s basically done?” I ask.

“It’s done. Amanda is testing it.”

“How do you know it’s done if she’s still testing it?”

“All the tickets are closed except one, so it’s basically done.”

“I don’t mean to give you a hard time. I’m trying to figure out if there’s a difference between ‘basically done’ and ‘done.’ Because usually there is. I inherited a project here last year that when I got it, it was ‘basically done,’ except it needed some more testing. I put one of my best guys on it and he was still working on it a year later when it was finally cancelled. It took a year to go from ‘basically done’ to cancelled. Hence my lack of fondness for hearing projects described as ‘basically done.'”

Notes for next team meeting: Effective immediately, we’re not going to describe any task as being “basically done,” “pretty much done,” or my personal favorite, “done — it just needs a little more testing.” (Isn’t that what testing is for — to find out if it’s done?)

We’ll classify things as either Done or Not Done. If it’s not done, we should be able to say what has to happen in order for it to be done.

Thus spoke The Programmer.

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