What does “Done” mean?

Project manager walks up to you and asks “Is that task done?”. How do you answer?

My experience is that most people assume that they know what done means to the asker – and answer the question based on that assumption.

But – often, what “done” means needs to be discussed and possibly negotiated.

The Big Three

Among the soft skills I believe developers can benefit from improving are Leadership – Play – Improvisation

Leadership is all about change. IT is all about change. Solution developers are therefore agents of change. Nobody every says “Hey – let’s build a new system that does exactly what we do now!” New systems have new features, new workflows, new objects – new, new, new, new, new. Having a basic understanding of how change happens in an organization – and how to help facliltate it will serve developers well. If nothing else, it can help to moderate the frustration born from over-optimistic hopes for change to evolve. It’s hard – it requires everyone to put their shoulder to the wheel. Nothing helps change happen than a good and hopeful attitude.

Hopefully you enjoy developing software systems. If so, then take the opportunity to go play with something that is fun and excites you. One of the biggest complaints people have about their jobs is that they get bored with their work. To have a successful and satisfying career, play! Take and hour and play with Ruby or Python or Excel or Javascript.

Improvisation to me is using leadership and creativity on the fly to solve problems, create new understandings, facilitate conversations and to form and maintain relationships. Organizations don’t work – but they’re the best we have right now. What makes organizations work and be effective are the people inside the organizations who try every day to fill in the gaps and smooth over the bumps to get something done. Organizations are tools for people to accomplish results.

Questions are the Answer

A favorite quote if mine is “Questions can shape our lives.”  I also believe the following:

  • Questions lead to answers.
  • Answers lead to actions.
  • Action leads to change.

What questions do you ask yourself? Are you asking “Why isn’t my life more exciting?” or – are you asking “How can I make my life more exciting?” Even better “What exciting new thing can I do today?” The more your questions are specific and achievable – the more likely the ansewr is to to lead to change in your life.

What questions do you ask others? “When are you going to get that report done?” or “Did you do the laundry yet?” Are other’s questions implicitly giving you direction. Direction that you may or may not deserve or want. Can you get others to reshape their questions? “Do you have time to finish that report this week?” “I’m out of white shirts – are you doing laundry today – or should I put in a load myself?”

How about “Will heaven be interesting?” “What does done mean?”

Hello world!

Welcome to Jmoore65. This blog site will reflect the my manic attempt to rationalize my experience in software development. I’ve been working in software and IT systems development for over 15 years. I’ve worked with office automation systems, multimedia systems, entertainment products, training and educational systems, and web based business and ecommerce systems.

I’ve come to believe that we are seeing a convergence of customer demand for IT services. What used to be separate user bases is now merging into one large customer base. Users have higher expectations of systems today – especially in terms of branding and customization.

We IT developers have a mixed track record for delivering usable, reliable and extensible systems. We’ve tended to believe that we know best. Technology has to be user centered – because at the end of the day – it’s users that translate the potential value of technology into actual value. We as an industry need to become more customer focused – our legions of technical staff need to understand customer needs, wants and psychology. Because it’s humans that fill in the gaps of dysfunctional organizations and make the produce the value that their customers want.

So – thanks for wandering in – hey, this is IT – ya’ never know what’s going to happen next.