Home  >   Blog  >   "Definition of Done"


"Definition of Done"

  Support by donation   Gift a cup of coffee

This article is part of the series: Ethical Product Developer

I strongly believe having solid "Definition of Done" is critical at a wide variety of occasions, including not only at business but for our personal life, but it's underappreciated in practice.

First, life is short, and we cannot do everything we would like. Hence, it is important for us to define a finish line by ourselves in terms of our entire life, year, month, week, and day. Otherwise, we will never get a sense of accomplishment, and we can easily miss what matters most. Although finding key factors that define an ultimate goal is not straightforward, thinking of our personal identities could be a reasonable first step to determine a high-level direction; personal identity depicts what the most important things for our life are, and such a north star metric naturally enables us to prioritize/assess the things in front of us.

Secondly, when it comes to product development, product managers should be responsible for defining a clear goal of product and leading engineers/designers with a strong ownership while sitting side by side and communicating closely with them, as well as customers. However, it rarely happens as far as I'm aware of. Design, technology, and science are essentially based on continuous effort of tiny improvements; if you gave an ambiguous goal/timeline and vague vision, they could spend an infinite amount of time.

Or, if you were a designer, engineer, or data scientist, it would be important to keep questioning yourselves as "Am I doing the right thing on the right path?". Being conscious about what we are creating and where we are heading to is a key first step toward ethical product development. The consciousness associated with "Definition of Done" ultimately brings not only a sense of accomplishment but also success of the product that your customers love.

No matter what you're doing, there must always be an area of improvement in our life and job. Therefore, setting a lower/upper bound to how we use our precious time is an absolutely necessary step. I've learned this point in painful ways over the last few years, and my recent reading of "Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most" reminds me of the point; Greg McKeown's long-time best book "Essentialism" was about what to do, and the follow-up book tells us how to do in a minimalistic and essential way. This is also where the idea of radical simplicity could intervene.

What defines the end of your life? How will your project/product look like at the end of the day?

This article is part of the series: Ethical Product Developer



Life & Work Business Design

  See also

"Why Do We Build This?" Humane Technologist's View of Bad Product/Project
Ethical Product Developer
Hi Product Managers, Are You Creating Products That *You* Love?


Last updated: 2022-05-23

  Author: Takuya Kitazawa

Takuya Kitazawa is a freelance software developer, previously working at a Big Tech and Silicon Valley-based start-up company where he wore multiple hats as a full-stack software developer, machine learning engineer, data scientist, and product manager. At the intersection of technological and social aspects of data-driven applications, he is passionate about promoting the ethical use of information technologies through his mentoring, business consultation, and public engagement activities. See CV for more information, or contact at [email protected].

  Support by donation   Gift a cup of coffee


  • Opinions are my own and do not represent the views of organizations I am/was belonging to.
  • I am doing my best to ensure the accuracy and fair use of the information. However, there might be some errors, outdated information, or biased subjective statements because the main purpose of this blog is to jot down my personal thoughts as soon as possible before conducting an extensive investigation. Visitors understand the limitations and rely on any information at their own risk.
  • That said, if there is any issue with the content, please contact me so I can take the necessary action.