A personal story about validation

February 13, 2007

For the last few months I’ve been remodeling my bathroom, a little bit at a time. One of the easier (though crucial) tasks was to paint the bathroom. In agile terms, this was an epic, as it would take a number of stories to take advantage of my free time. So, the first story was “Buy Paint”. Grace (my wife) and I went to Lowe’s, picked a paint chip, bought the paint, and took it home. Story complete, right?

Well, that weekend, while Grace was away, I painted the bathroom to surprise her. Great job, too, no drips, no spills, no errors… then she comes home. “Too purply,” she says, “do it again.” So I did, and I had her check the color after the first chunk of wall… I learn from my mistakes.

“So, Dan, what’s the point,” you ask. Good question, and here’s the answer. My story “Buy Paint” was not actually complete, as the result was not ‘fit for use’ in the next story, “Apply the Paint.” This lesson came in real handy when it came time to buy the grout for the shower, let me tell you.

We went and selected the grout and I spent an hour applying it to some scrap tiles on a piece of plywood. The next day we took it around and looked at it under various lights, and determined it was too light in color. So we did it again and selected the right color. This was a GOOD THING, as redoing grout is a royal pain, so we would probably had to live it.

“Ok, ok, is there a lesson here?” You betcha! Think hard about your “doneness” criteria for a story or PBI. Make sure that these criteria focus on fitness for use, not just on being finished… this will keep you out of trouble.

Dan 😉

Dan Rawsthorne
dan@danube.com

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One Response to “A personal story about validation”

  1. Di Says:

    Is the task finished? I agree no project is complete until everyone is happy…right? Hope you will share your new bathroom pictures.

    Di
    3-Day Blinds


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