What's Your Definition of Done?

What’s Your Definition of Done?

Last week I shared five questions to delegate more effectively.

The first question is something you can use even if you are not delegating: What is the desired outcome and what standards are being used?

Software developers often use a project management framework called Scrum. This process emphasizes working in short cycles called sprints where the team focuses on a specific set of tasks or features.

As part of this process, the team creates a “Definition of Done.”  According to the Scrum Guide, the Definition of Done is a formal description of the state of the Increment when it meets the quality measures required for the product.  More simply stated, a definition of done is a shared understanding of expectations that the current sprint (or increment) must meet in order to be complete.

One easy way to think about the definition of done is to finish this sentence: “What does it take for (or to)…”

For example:

  • What does it take for the rocket to launch?
  • What does it take for the service engineer to schedule the delivery of his/her vehicle?
  • What does it take for a doctor to say ,“The surgery is a success?”

If I ask my son to mow the lawn, our definition of done includes the literal mowing but also putting away the lawn mower and blowing the clippings off the driveway.

For financial advisors and financial planners, here are some examples where you might apply the definition of done:

  • What does it take to set up a portfolio for a new client?
  • What does it take to complete a client’s request to change beneficiaries?
  • What does it take for a client review meeting to be considered successful?

Let’s dig a little deeper into what it takes for a client meeting to be considered successful.  Obviously a simple definition is that you speak to the client, and they appear happy.

But we can probably go a little deeper.  For example, your definition of done for a successful client review meeting could include all of these items:

  • Sending a customized agenda to the client the day before the meeting
  • Preparing all planning and portfolio reports
  • Discussing specific wealth planning topics
  • Agreeing upon clear action items and timelines
  • Scheduling or identifying the next meeting date
  • Documenting the meeting by sending a summary letter or email
  • Adding client notes and action items to your CRM

Taking the time to define done before you begin allows everyone to work with clarity and purpose, including you!

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