Things aren’t done until they’re #DoneDone

My third mantra is one you’ve likely heard, even if you don’t work for me. I use it everywhere – even at home. My kids know what #donedone means. So should you.

I know – you read that and you think I’ve gone crazy – because “donedone” isn’t a word. But the mantra works only after you’ve explained how the phrase came to be.

Years ago, I noticed that when I asked software developers if they were done with something, they would tell me they were.

Then, they’d add another modifying phrase to their answers. It came out sounding like this:

  • Yes, except someone still has to….
  • Yes, but now it’s someone else’s job to
  • Yes, but now it needs testing.
  • Yes, only in order to use it, someone will need to

Then, I started noticing that it wasn’t just software developers. Project managers and technical illustrators and writers and designers were all doing the same thing.

It seemed that everyone had suddenly lost any sense of what I meant when I asked if something was done.

It was like people wanted credit for “completion” when they were only partially complete. In fact, the trend I was noticing was that people were shrinking the part they were responsible for, and then telling me their part was done.

As you can imagine, high performing teams don’t work that way. They focus on execution. They also understand ownership and responsibility.

So I started asking if things were #donedone.

Immediately, the question came – what is #donedone?

And the answer was simple – it’s the phrase I use to mean there’s no other word, no other modifier you can put after done. There is no “done, except” or “done, but” or “done, and now” – there is only done, followed by done.

So now when I ask if something is done, people understand the question. And they understand what’s really important, when we’re talking about execution.

They understand that something isn’t done until it’s #donedone.

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