Defining Your Definition of Done: Using the F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. Approach


Defining a clear and consistent “Definition of Done” is crucial for successful project management and ensuring high-quality deliverables. It serves as a shared understanding between team members and stakeholders about the completion criteria for a task or user story. One effective approach to defining your Definition of Done is by using the acronym F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D., which represents a set of criteria that encompass various aspects of quality and readiness. In this article, we will explore how each element of F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. contributes to establishing a comprehensive and reliable Definition of Done.

The Frankenstein of Done

Functional: Meeting the Intended Purpose

The first element of F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the work meets its intended purpose. It should fulfill all the requirements outlined in the user story or acceptance criteria. This criterion ensures that the functionality has been implemented correctly and is functioning as expected.

Integrated: Seamless Compatibility

Integration is a critical aspect of software development. The work should be compatible and seamlessly integrated with the rest of the product or process. It should not introduce any disruptions or conflicts with existing functionalities. By verifying integration, you ensure that the work functions harmoniously within the larger context and contributes to the overall coherence of the project.

No Known Issues: Addressing Bugs and Known Problems

A thorough Definition of Done requires addressing all known issues or bugs related to the work item. This step involves comprehensive testing and resolving any identified problems. By resolving known issues, you enhance the quality and reliability of the deliverable, ensuring a smoother user experience and reducing the likelihood of post-release complications.

Inspected: Peer and Stakeholder Review

Quality assurance is vital to achieving a robust Definition of Done. The work should undergo inspection by peers and key stakeholders. This step involves a review process to identify and rectify any remaining issues or potential areas of improvement. Inspecting the work ensures that it meets the required quality standards and aligns with the expectations and needs of all relevant stakeholders.

Supportable: Future Maintenance and Operations

Maintainability is a crucial consideration in any software development project. The work should be supportable for future changes, support, and operations. This criterion ensures that the deliverable is built in a way that facilitates future updates and modifications without causing significant disruptions. By designing for supportability, you enable a more efficient and sustainable development process.

Honors Standards: Compliance and Guidelines

Adherence to relevant compliance, guidelines, and standards is essential for certain industries or domains. The work should meet the established standards and requirements specific to the project. By honoring standards, you ensure that the deliverable aligns with legal, security, or industry-specific regulations, enhancing its credibility and reliability.

Essential Documentation: Completeness and Clarity

Comprehensive documentation is a key aspect of a thorough Definition of Done. All required internal documentation, as well as user-facing documentation, should be completed. This criterion ensures that anyone interacting with the work can understand its purpose, functionality, and usage. Clear documentation reduces ambiguity and facilitates effective collaboration, support, and future enhancements.

Deployment Ready: Prepared for Release

The final element of F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. emphasizes the readiness for deployment and release. The work should be prepared and validated to be releasable at any time. This criterion ensures that all necessary preparations, such as build packaging, testing, and configuration, are completed. By achieving deployment readiness, you can confidently move forward with the release process when appropriate.


Defining your Definition of Done using the F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. approach provides a comprehensive framework to ensure the quality and readiness of your deliverables. By considering the functional, integrated, no known issues, inspected, supportable, honors standards, essential documentation, and deployment-ready aspects, you establish a shared understanding of completion criteria among team members and stakeholders. This approach promotes consistency, accountability, and a higher level of confidence in the work being delivered. By adhering to the F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. framework, you enhance the overall quality of your projects and set the stage for successful outcomes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *