Ask Molly, Managing

Ask Molly: When will it be “Done-Done”?


By Jul 29,2016  1

Dear Molly,

I’m pulling my hair out over here. I’ve got a bunch of talented programmers who cannot under any circumstance tell me, or even guesstimate when they are going to be able to deliver a product to a client. Sometimes they will say it is done even when they still have a few hours of work to do that they haven’t gotten around to or they will say it is done even though it is clear they never tested it. I’ve gotten to the point where I say, “Is is done or is it “DONE-DONE”? How do I get my developers to give me the information I need, and separately, how do I drive home the question of “completion”?

All Done in Missouri

Hey Done,

Oh man, I hear you. You’re facing pressure from the client to deliver but you simply cannot get the information you need to provide the end product, or even a reliable deadline to your client. I’m guessing you’re sick of going to your client with your hat in your hands to ask for more time, especially when you don’t even know how much time you need.

Right now you might need to just hire additional resources to get yourself out of “triage” mode. Long term you can avoid this situation with three focused steps:


You need a clear estimating process that includes a review of the work. You also need a quality assurance and testing process so you can ask your developer more direct questions like “Has the system passed testing?”


You need to train your developers on how to properly estimate their time and how to follow a quality assurance and testing process.


Even the best process and best trained developer cannot meet a deadline if they are overworked, over scheduled, and juggling competing priorities. Have you assigned enough resources to your projects? Are you setting realistic expectations of your team? My session at our conference this fall is all about optimal scheduling to get the best work out of you and your team.

I know that you probably use the word “done-done” sarcastically but the truth is you are on the right path to develop a process that might just need some language tweaks: “Programming Complete” and “Testing Complete”.



Ask Molly is my column where I answer your questions about the things that are keeping you from truly enjoying your work. I can’t help you with your personal life or your love life, but if you have questions about your work life, I’ve got you covered. Drop me a line below and ask me a question! – Molly

Ask Molly


Find Your Moose 2016 is Coming Soon!

Elusive Moose Podcast

Bringing the Moose to the Freelancers' Show


Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  • Susan Fennema July 29, 2016 Reply

    Molly- this is GREAT advice! The process / system will help tremendously. Regular status meetings can also help.


Email this post to a friend.

or Close


Lost your password?