View on GitHub

The Definition of Done

Practical steps to design, build, release, and maintain software.

Welcome to The Definition of Done

This document gives advice and factors to consider when developing, deploying, and maintaining software. It is a comprehensive (and slightly idealized) guide covering planning and design, early development and prototyping, integration and testing, release and deployment, productionization, continuous enhancement, marketing and communication, and iterative process improvement.

Not every step outlined is necessary for every project; there are always trade-offs between under-planning and over-engineering. Use your best judgement and omit steps when appropriate, or adopt steps incrementally as your project matures.

Step-by-Step Guide

Click on any step below to read more detailed descriptions.

Planning and Design

Your time is valuable, and so is your team’s. Take some time to plan and design your software before you write code. This will help you avoid wasted effort and ensure that your software meets the needs of your users and stakeholders.

Identify the Problem and Solution Spaces Define the problem you're solving and the goals you want to achieve.
Identifying the problem involves understanding the needs of your users, stakeholders, and the market. This includes defining the problem you're solving, the goals you want to achieve, and the constraints that bind you. This phase is crucial for setting the direction of your project and ensuring that you're solving a worthy problem. Identify the tools (and expertise) needed to overcome the problem and constraints.
EPS & RFCs Propose and evaluate solutions and discuss technical and project scopes with your peers. This is also a good time to start documenting your project.
EPS (Enhancement Proposal System) and RFCs (Request for Comments) provide structured methods for proposing, discussing, and reaching consensus on technical changes and project scopes. They give everyone an opportunity to contribute input and establish a record of decision-making.
Project Plan Identify key simplified milestones, deadlines, available resources, and potential risks. Iterate over these with stakeholders as you go.
A project plan outlines the key milestones, deadlines, available resource, and potential risks of your project. It serves as a roadmap, guiding your team's efforts and helping you track progress, but still allows you to remain agile. Regularly revisiting and updating your project plan with stakeholders ensures alignment and adaptability in the face of changes and challenges. In general, you want a process that takes you from "Moonshots" and abstract 5-year "Northstar" wishes to yearly plans and ultimately to quarterly OKRs and specific sprint plans.
User Stories Define the software's features and requirements from the user's perspective.

User stories are short, simple descriptions of a feature told from the perspective of the user. They help create a simplified description of a requirement, focusing on the value or goal the user seeks. You can follow this format:

"As a [Role], I want [Feature] in order to [Benefit]."

Architecture and Design Assemble a high-level design of the software's structure and components.
The architecture and design phase involves outlining the high-level structure of the software, which includes defining the software components, their external properties, and their relationships with other software. This phase also involves making early strategic decisions related to the way you build and deploy the software, such as choosing the runtime, frameworks, and other technologies to ensure future maintainability and stability.
Security and Compliance Planning Consider security and compliance requirements.
Security and Compliance Planning involves identifying potential security risks and ensuring your project adheres to relevant regulations and standard precautions. This includes data protection, secure coding practices, and regular security audits. Compliance refers to following laws and standards relevant to your project, which can vary based on your industry and the nature of your software.
Performance & Scalability Planning Consider performance and scalability requirements early, as well as potential bottlenecks.
Performance & Scalability Planning involves identifying potential performance bottlenecks and planning for future growth. Consider how your system will handle increased load and make design choices that allow for easy scaling and loads fluctuate. Early consideration of these factors can prevent costly rework and future downtime.
Cost Estimation Estimate the project's costs and resources at a high level. Remain cost conscious as the project grows.
Cost Estimation involves predicting the resources and time required to complete your project. This includes considering the cost of development time, hardware, software, and any third-party services you might use. It's important to revisit and update your cost estimates regularly as your project progresses and you gain a better understanding of the work involved. This is also a good time to plan for cost tracking automation to simplify FinOps.
Wireframes and User Experience (UX) Design Draft a visual representation of the user interface and interactions.
Wireframes and UX Design involve creating a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of your software. This process helps to arrange elements to best accomplish a particular purpose. For example, you might outline where the placement of buttons, images, and text within the interface. UX Design is about enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability and accessibility of your software. This could involve designing smooth navigation, intuitive layouts, and interactive elements that provide a seamless experience for the user. A good understanding of UX expectations will help you better organize your code and make it more maintainable.
API Design Define the software's API and data exchange formats early to avoid painful integration changes later.
API Design involves defining the interfaces through which interactions happen between an application and other software. This includes deciding on the structure of the API endpoints, the request/response parameters and payload formats, and the conventions to be followed. For example, in a RESTful API, you might have endpoints like `GET /users` for retrieving a list of users and `POST /users` for creating a new user. The design should also consider aspects like error handling, security, and versioning to ensure the API is robust, secure, and extensible.
Internationalization and Localization Planning Consider internationalization and localization requirements.
Internationalization and Localization Planning involves preparing your software for different regions and languages. This includes designing and implementing features that support multiple languages, date and time formats, number formats, and cultural norms. For example, you might use libraries or frameworks that support internationalization, or design your UI to be flexible for different text directions and lengths. It's also important to consider localization, which involves adapting your software to meet the language, cultural, and other requirements of a specific region.
Accessibility Planning Factor in accessibility requirements.
Accessibility Planning involves designing your software to be usable by as many people as possible, including those with disabilities. This could involve ensuring your software is compatible with assistive technologies, providing descriptive text for images, and designing for various input methods. It's also important to consider color contrast, font size, and layout for those with visual impairments.
Additional Planning Other types of planning (Legal, Licensing, Privacy & Regulatory, Ethical, Sustainability, etc.) might also factor into your design.
Additional Planning may include Legal, Licensing, Privacy & Regulatory, Ethical, and Sustainability considerations. This involves understanding and complying with relevant laws and regulations, choosing appropriate licenses for your software, planning for privacy and data protection, considering the ethical implications of your software, and making decisions that promote sustainability. For example, you might need to comply with data protection laws, choose an open-source license, develop a privacy policy, consider the impact of your software on society, and aim to minimize the environmental impact of your software's development and operation. Software can be a force multiplier for good as well as evil, so it's important to consider the broader impact of your work.

Early Development and Prototyping

This is the stage most commonly associated with software development. It’s where you take your idea and turn it into a working prototype. Here is where you’ll make the most important decisions about your software, and where you’ll lay the foundation for everything that follows.

External Dependencies Management Handle third-party services and libraries systematically through package managers.
External Dependencies Management involves handling third-party services and libraries systematically, preferably through package managers. This includes identifying the dependencies your software needs, choosing reliable libraries and services, and using a package manager to manage them consistently. For example, in a Ruby project, you might use Bundler to manage your gems. It's also important to keep your dependencies up to date and to monitor them for security vulnerabilities. Regularly updating your dependencies can help you take advantage of bug fixes and new features, and can also help keep your software secure. Stay up to date with dependency management best practices and security advisories to guard against problems like RepoJacking.
Testing Framework Compose Tests to provide early documentation and validation that objectives align with business goals.
Testing Framework involves setting up a systematic approach to test your software for its functionality and performance. This includes leveraging Test Driven Development (TDD) which involves writing tests before the actual code. Automated unit and integration tests are a key part of this process, ensuring each part of the software works individually and collectively. Linting is also important, helping to maintain code quality and prevent potential errors. In a Ruby project, you might use RSpec or MiniTest for testing and RuboCop for linting. Regularly running these tests and linters can help catch issues early, improve code quality, and reduce debugging time.
Version Control Use a version control system to track changes and collaborate with others.
Version Control, typically using Git, allows tracking and managing code changes. It enables collaboration and provides a history of changes, as well as remote back-ups. Branching strategies like GitFlow can help keep async collaboration smooth. Regularly pull from the remote repository to keep your local repository updated and push your changes to share them with others.
Code Review Avoid coding alone and have peers review your code to ensure quality, maintainability, and security.
Code Review is a systematic examination of software source code, done to find and fix mistakes overlooked during the initial development phase. This improves the overall quality of software. Perform reviews through pair programming, informal walkthroughs, and formal inspections. In a Ruby project, you might use tools like RuboCop for static code analysis. Code reviews are also a learning opportunity, allowing developers to share new techniques and design patterns.
Working Code Implement a minimal viable product (MVP) with adequate testing and versioning.
Working Code refers to the functional implementation of the software. It's the core of any software project and often the primary focus of developers. This involves writing clean, efficient, and maintainable code that implements the desired features and meets the defined requirements. It's important to follow good coding practices, such as adhering to a style guide, using meaningful names for variables and functions, and organizing code into logical modules or classes. In a Ruby project, you might use tools like RuboCop to enforce a consistent style. Remember, the goal is not just to write code that works, but code that is easy to understand, extend, and debug.
Internal Documentation Help others understand and contribute to your project by providing code comments, READMEs, and other documentation.
Internal Documentation is crucial for maintaining code readability and facilitating collaboration. This includes code comments, README files, and technical specifications. Code comments should be concise and meaningful, explaining the purpose and functionality of code blocks. In Python, you might use docstrings for function and class documentation. README files summarize the project, setup instructions, and usage examples. Technical specifications detail the software's architecture, data models, and algorithms. In a Go project, you might use godoc for generating API documentation. In Java, Javadoc serves a similar purpose. Remember, good documentation reduces the learning curve for new team members and promotes maintainability.
Modularization Break down the software into smaller, reusable components when possible to avoid painful refactoring later.
Modularization is about breaking software into smaller, reusable components, improving manageability and reducing complexity. Principles like SOLID and GRASP guide this process. SOLID stands for five principles for maintainable and scalable systems, while GRASP provides guidelines for object-oriented design. Following these principles, along with others like DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) and KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), promotes clean and maintainable code. In Java, packages organize related classes, while in Python, modules serve a similar purpose.

Integration and Testing

Once you’ve built your software, you need to make sure it works. This requires a comprehensive testing strategy that includes everything from unit tests to user acceptance testing.

CI (Continuous Integration) Integrate code from multiple contributors frequently.
Continuous Integration (CI) is a vital practice in modern software development that encourages frequent code integration into a shared repository, followed by automated builds and tests that providing immediate feedback on the changes. CI brings many benefits, such as rapid feedback, reduced risk, increased confidence, faster release rate, improved developer productivity, better quality software, and cost savings. It helps in delivering high-quality software more rapidly and with fewer bugs, making it a critical component of agile software development practices. Prioritize integrating dark code (feature flagged, parallel modules, etc.) over long-lived feature branches.
Security Review Frequently review all code for potential security vulnerabilities
A Security Review is a meticulous examination of the codebase for potential vulnerabilities. This process helps in identifying and mitigating any threats that could compromise the software's integrity or the data it handles. It involves practices such as static code analysis, dynamic analysis, and penetration testing. The goal is to ensure that the software is secure and resilient against potential attacks, protecting user data, and maintaining trust. Leverage automated security scanning tools and services to identify and fix security issues early in the development process.
Performance Review Review your code for potential performance bottlenecks and optimization opportunities.
Evaluate your codebase for potential performance bottlenecks and optimization opportunities. This process helps in identifying and mitigating any issues that could hinder the software's performance under various loads and conditions. It involves practices such as load testing, stress testing, and performance profiling. The goal is to ensure that the software is efficient, responsive, and scalable, providing a smooth and satisfying user experience. Invest in performance monitoring and profiling tools and automated builds to identify and address performance issues early in the development process.
QA & Regression Testing Incorporate a quality assurance and regression testing processes, preferably with substantial automation.
Quality Assurance (QA) and Regression Testing is a crucial step in software development that ensuring the software meets specified requirements and that new changes do not break existing functionality. QA involves systematic activities such as designing test plans, writing test cases, and executing tests to assess the quality of the software. Regression testing, a type of QA, takes place after modifications of your software to confirm that existing functionality remains unaffected. These processes help in maintaining the reliability of the software, preventing bugs, and enhancing user satisfaction.
Chaos Engineering Test the software's resilience to sudden catastrophic failure.
Chaos Engineering is a discipline in software engineering that focuses on improving system resilience. It involves intentionally introducing failures into the system to uncover its weaknesses and potential issues. By observing how the system responds to these failures, developers can proactively fix issues before they affect the users. This practice helps in ensuring that the software can withstand unexpected disruptions and continue to function correctly, enhancing its reliability and user trust.
Accessibility Testing Test the software's accessibility to users with disabilities.
Accessibility Testing ensures the software is usable by people with disabilities. This includes testing the software with assistive technologies, checking color contrast and font sizes for readability, and ensuring all functionality is accessible via keyboard for those who can't use a mouse. By making your software accessible, you not only comply with legal requirements but also improve the user experience for a wider audience, thereby increasing the potential user base and user satisfaction.
Internationalization and Localization Testing Test the software's support for multiple languages and regions.
Internationalization Testing ensures the software can support multiple languages and regions. This includes testing the software's ability to handle different character sets, date and time formats, number formats, and cultural norms. By ensuring your software's internationalization, you can reach a wider audience and provide a better user experience for users around the world.
Compliance Testing Test the software's compliance with security standards and regulations.
Compliance Testing guarantees the software meets specified regulations and standards, including security and data protection. This helps avoid legal issues, protects user data, and maintains user trust.
Documentation and Sample Review Review of the software's documentation for accuracy and completeness.
Documentation Review assesses the software's documentation for accuracy, completeness, and consistency. It ensures the documentation adheres to established standards, supports user needs, and facilitates effective developer collaboration. Applying DocOps principles can streamline this process, reducing friction between developers, technical writers, and documentation maintainers. You should also provide sample code, videos, and dynamic examples to help users understand how to use your software.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) Work with users to ensure the software meets their needs.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is the final phase of testing where the intended users of the software validate the product for real-world usage. This involves the users testing the software to ensure it can handle required tasks in real-world scenarios, according to specifications. Conducted UAT from the user's perspective, and validate that the system meets the user's requirements and will perform correctly in the actual production environment. It's the last step before the software goes live, and your last chance to address issues before the final release, ensuring a smooth launch and user experience.

Release and Deployment

The world is ready to meet your software, but are you ready to ship it to the masses? You need a reliable release strategy that minimizes risks for stakeholders and end users, yet does not hinder developers.

Dry Run Mode and Feature Flags Implement operational validation without affecting live environments and dynamically toggle features and rollouts.
Dry Run Mode and Feature Flags are crucial for validating changes without affecting live environments. A dry run mode simulates changes without actually applying them, providing a safe way to verify routing and code paths. Feature flags dynamically toggle features, and allow for safe testing and more sophisticated gradual and conditional rollouts (for example to a pool of test users in a particular region).
Training and Support Plan Train internal users and administrators and provide post-release support for them.
The Training and Support Plan ensures internal users and administrators are well-equipped to use the new software. For instance, this could involve creating user manuals, providing training sessions, and setting up a support systems to handle queries and issues post-release.
Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Prepare Client Impact Communications, Release Notes, and plans for communicating with stakeholders about the release.
The Communication and Stakeholder Engagement step involves preparing and executing a plan for communicating with all stakeholders about the release. This includes creating client impact communications, drafting release notes, and setting up channels for ongoing communication. The goal is to inform and engage stakeholders throughout the release process.
Incident Response and Postmortem Plan You should be prepared to handle post-release issues and document incidents in postmortem documentation.
The Incident Response step involves preparing for and handling any incidents that may occur post-release. This includes setting up an incident response team, creating an incident response plan and runbooks, conducting regular incident response drills, and documenting incidents in postmortem documentation. The goal is to ensure that the team is well-prepared to handle any issues that may arise, minimizing the impact on users and the system, and learning from these incidents to prevent future occurrences.
Staging, Alpha, and Beta Sign Off Stages Finalize testing in a production-mimicking environment and approval stages from internal, selected users, to general availability.
The Staging and Sign Off Stages involve final testing in a production-mimicking environment and approval stages from internal, selected users, to general availability. This ensures that the software behaves as expected in a real-world setting before reaching to all users. It includes Alpha and Beta testing stages, where a limited audience tests the software under real-world conditions. Addressed issues discovered during these stages before the software becomes widely available, ensuring a smooth launch and user experience.
Release Pipeline Automate the entire lifecycle from Release Candidate to General Release, including testing, sign-off, and deployment plans.

The Release Process involves packaging a Release Candidate (e.g., a consistent build of a tagged commit), testing it, and preparing a Release, Deployment, and Rollback Plan. Gradually release the software to production (or reverted as needed) and review it post-release. These steps ensure a smooth and reliable release with minimal user impact.

A basic automated pipeline could comprise the following steps for example:

  • Release Candidate (RC): Build and package software upon tagging or commit to a production branch.
  • RC Testing through pre-production environment(s): Automated testing rounds of the release candidate.
  • RC Sign Off: Human-in-the-loop approval of the release candidate if required for compliance.
  • Rollback preparation: Ensure previous packaged builds are available in case of serious issues.
  • CD & Rollback (Continuous Deployment): Automated deployment with anomaly detection and rollback capabilities.

Post-Release Testing and Sign Off Follow-up with post-release activities include Post-Release Testing and Post-Release Sign Off to review and learn from the release process.
These activities allow you to review and learn from the release process, identify areas for improvement, and implement changes for future releases. This ensures continuous improvement and refinement of the release process. Post-Release Testing ensures that the software continues to function as expected in the live environment, and Post-Release Sign Off confirms that you met all release objectives and that the software is ready for ongoing support and maintenance.


You’ve built your software, now you must make it production-worthy. You need to make sure that it’s ready for real world usage, and that means testing, security, and performance

Logs and Observability Create systems for error tracking and operational insight, and performance, usage, and reliability data analysis.
Logs and observability help you understand how a system is performing and for diagnosing problems when things go wrong. Logs provide a record of what has happened in a system, and they can track down the cause of errors and performance issues. Observability refers to the ability to understand the internal state of a system based on its outputs, such as logs, metrics, and traces. Together, logs and observability can help teams understand how their systems are performing, identify problems, and make informed decisions about how to improve them. This should also include external observability, for example with a public status page for public facing services.
System Reliability Have plans in place for Backup & Restore, Redundancy & Fail-over, Monitoring & Alerting, and Disaster Recovery Plans to ensure system stability and recovery capabilities.
System reliability ensures that a service or application is available when users need it. This includes having backups and restore capabilities in place, so that data is recoverable in the event of failure. It also includes redundancy, so that if one part of the system fails, there are other parts that can take over. Monitoring and alerting are important for detecting problems and notifying the people who can address the issue. Runbooks provide a set of procedures for responding to common problems, and disaster recovery plans provide a roadmap for recovering from major outages or disasters. Together, these elements help ensure that a system is reliable and can recover from failures.
Performance and Security Management Establish a Scaling Plan, optimize performance, patch regularly, and carry out Compliance Auditing to maintain optimal operation and healthy security posture.
A scaling plan ensures that the system can handle increased load as it grows, as well as fluctuations. Performance optimization involves identifying and addressing bottlenecks and other issues that can slow down the system. Systems should be capable of responding to health checks and be able to scale up or down as needed. Regular patching ensures that the system is up-to-date and secure, and compliance auditing ensures that the system meets all relevant standards and regulations. Together, these elements help ensure that a system is performant and secure.
Operational Tools and Processes Build diagnostic tools, establish change management processes, and establish configuration management processes for efficient operation and management of software changes.
Diagnostic tools help teams understand how a system is performing and diagnose problems when things go wrong. Change management ensures that changes to the system happen in a controlled and predictable manner, and configuration management ensures that the system configuration is consistently correct, without the need for frequent deploys to update configs. Together, these elements help ensure that a system is healthy, efficient, and manageable.
Robust Documentation Your documentation should answer most of a user's questions, from getting started to advanced troubleshooting.
Documentation should be comprehensive, easy to understand, and up-to-date. It should cover all aspects of the software, from installation and configuration to troubleshooting and advanced usage. Docs should also include examples, tutorials, and best practices to help users get the most out of the software. Good documentation can save users time and frustration, and it can also reduce the burden on support teams. Great documentation also helps attract new users and contributors, by demonstrating that the project is well-maintained and user-friendly.
User Engagement and Management Deploy systems and processes for User Feedback Collection, User Support, User Training, User Management, User Account and Data Recovery, User Data Handling, and User Data Security, ensuring comprehensive support and data protection.
You want to make sure your users have a positive experience with a service or application. This includes collecting and acting on user feedback, providing support and training, managing user accounts and data, and ensuring the secure handling of user information with an appropriate level of respect. Together, these elements help ensure that users have a positive experience and that their data is safe.

Continuous Enhancement

Even if you get everything right the first time, the world around changes. You need to be prepared to adapt and strengthen your software to meet new challenges and opportunities.

Cross-team Notifications, Walk-through, and Demos Actively share knowledge and updates.
Your software might be ready for prime time, but the work doesn't stop there. Make sure that you reach out to everyone who needs to know about your software and expose your work to them. This includes other teams within your organization, as well as external stakeholders. You need to provide clear documentation and examples so that they fully understand how your software can help them. Good software is a force multiplier, but only if it is within reach of those who need it.
Gather Feedback Collect feedback for improvement.
Adopt a growth mindset and proactively seek feedback from internal and external users, stakeholders, and team members. This feedback will help you understand how your software is being used, and where you can improve it. This feedback can come from a variety of sources, including user surveys, support tickets, and direct conversations with users. The more feedback you can gather, the better you'll be able to deliver a world-class software experience.
Technical Debt Management Identify and address technical debt to maintain code quality.
Great should not be the enemy of good, and done is better than perfect, so it's ok to make compromises to deliver value sooner. That said, track and manage technical debt to ensure that it doesn't get out of hand. Technical debt results from making compromises in the short term that will require additional work in the future. This can include things like skipping tests, taking shortcuts, or using outdated technology. If you're not careful, technical debt can accumulate and make it difficult to maintain and improve your software. You need to be aware of the technical debt in your software and have a plan for addressing it regularly.
User Experience (UX) Design and Testing Focus on the usability and user satisfaction of your software.
No amount of expertise can replace the value of user feedback from the field. You need to make sure that your software is easy to use, and that it meets the needs of your users. This requires a comprehensive UX design and testing strategy that includes everything from user interviews to usability testing. The more you can understand about how your users interact with your software, the better you'll be able to make it meet their needs. Great software continues to empower future users beyond its original design with less effort. Learn to run experiments safely, such as A/B testing, to validate your assumptions and make data-driven decisions.
Security Compliance and Auditing Check regularly to ensure compliance with security standards and regulations.
Even as your software becomes stable, you must continue to invest effort regularly to ensure that it remains secure. This includes regular security audits, as well as compliance with security standards and regulations. The more you can do to ensure the security of your software, the better you'll be able to protect your users and your organization. Security is a process, not a product, and you need to make sure that your software is secure at every stage of its lifecycle.
Accessibility Compliance Ensure your software remains accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, and compliant with other relevant standards and regulations.
Like security, the accessibility requirements your software must meet might change even if the software itself doesn't. You need to make sure that your software is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, and that it meets other relevant standards and regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The more you can do to ensure that your software is accessible and compliant, the better you'll be able to serve all of your users.
Regulatory Compliance Ensure the software meets all relevant standards and regulations.
It is in your best interest to keep abreast of legislation that affects your industry, so that you don't find yourself in a panic when new laws pass. You need to make sure that your software meets all relevant standards and regulations, and that it complies with all relevant laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Digital Services Act (DSA). The more you can do to ensure that your software is compliant, the better you'll be able to protect your users and maintain trust in your organization.
Keeping Up with Technology Stay current with the latest technology trends and with the competition.
The world of technology is constantly changing, and you need to make sure that your software keeps up. This includes staying current with the latest technology trends, as well as monitoring the competition. You need regular, timely improvements to ensure that your software remains relevant and competitive. Avoid change for change's sake, but make sure that your software is ready to meet the emergent needs of your users. Staying up to date also ensures your software remains attractive to potential contributors and investors.

Marketing and Communication

To ensure the survival and success of your software, you must actively promote and encourage its widespread adoption and continued usage. This requires a marketing and communication plan that is as well thought out as the code itself.

Sales Documentation & Training Material Craft Product understanding materials for sales and support teams.
Ultimately, your software is only as successful as the people who help you gain and retain customers. Sales and support teams need a deep understanding the product in order to communicate and deliver its value to customers. This includes training materials, clear I product documentation, and other resources.
Announcements Email/Blog Make public announcements on features, releases, or changes.
Explore multiple avenues to get the word out about your product, within your app, in your public documentation, and through email and blog posts. This is a great way to keep your users informed about new features and changes, and to keep them engaged with your product. It also helps you recruit new talent and grow your user base if you can add value to your promotional content, even for non-users. Establish partnerships with the content writers at your organization to support them in spreading the message.
Press and Analyst Relations Engage the Media for product coverage.
Beyond public content, you can help produce press releases and promotional material that showcases the strengths of your product. This can help you reach a wider audience and attract new users. It can also help you build relationships with the media and other influencers, which can be valuable for future product launches and other initiatives. You should also do everything you can to expose your product to analysts and other industry experts, as their opinions can carry a lot of weight with new and existing customers.
Events Engage the community through events to promote your product.
Seeing is believing. You can't beat face-to-face interaction for building relationships and trust. Events are a great way to showcase your product and build relationships with your users and potential customers. They can also be a great way to get feedback on your product and to build a community around it. You can also use events to build relationships with other companies and organizations, which can be valuable for future partnerships and other initiatives. Events also help recruit new talent and grow your user base.
Community and External Developer Support Foster a supportive environment for the community and empower external developers through documentation, SDKs, APIs, forums, and other resources.
Optimize for user and developer happiness. Make sure that your product is easy to use and that you provide the resources and support that your users and developers need. This includes documentation, SDKs, APIs, forums, and other resources. It also includes providing support and answering questions. This can help you build a community around your product, which can be valuable for future product launches and other initiatives. It can also help you attract new users and developers, and keep them engaged with your product. Make sure you give back to the industry and the community by contributing to open source projects standards, and other initiatives.

Beyond Done: Iterative Process Improvement

All good things must end, but that doesn’t mean you’re finished. You need to take the time to reflect on what you’ve done and how you’ve done it, and use that knowledge to improve your process next time.

Deprecation Plan Regularly remove unused features or low-value components from the software.
Just as important as adding new features and functionality is removing old ones. This is especially true for software that is used by others, as it's difficult to remove features without causing disruption after cruft accumulates. A good deprecation plan will help you remove features in a way that is as painless as possible for your users.
Retirement Plan Ensuring the protection of user data and provide a migration path when retiring your software.
Should the need arise to retire your product, you should have a plan in place to ensure that you don't leave users in the lurch. This plan should include a strategy for protecting user data and providing a migration path to a new product or service. Even if your product reaches the end of the road, there is value in preserving documentation, old binaries and artifacts, and other historical information for future reference. Just because a product retires, doesn't mean you have to lose the support of the users and the industry. A graceful exit can open doors for future opportunities. Consider open sourcing your product, or donating it to a foundation or organization that can continue to maintain it.
Self Improvement Continuously improve your skills and knowledge.
As a software engineer, you should always be learning and improving your skills. This is especially true in the fast-paced world of technology. You should be continuously learning new technologies, tools, and best practices, and improving your existing skills. This will help you stay relevant and competitive in the industry, and it will also help you provide more value to your team and your organization. You should also be continuously improving your soft skills, such as communication, collaboration, organization, productivity, and leadership. These skills are just as important as technical skills, and they will help you become a more effective, accountable, and well-rounded engineer.
Have Fun Make sure you enjoy the journey.
Software engineering can be a challenging and demanding field, but it can also be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. You should take the time to enjoy the journey, and make sure you have fun along the way. This can mean different things to different people, but it's important to find ways to keep yourself motivated, engaged, energized, and fulfilled. Whatever it is that makes you happy, make sure to prioritize it. A little tedium is unavoidable, but life is too short and precious to waste on things that you don't love. Make sure you find joy and balance in your life and work.
Iterate Over This Definition Continuously review and refine your development, deployment, and maintenance process, embracing improvement based on feedback, technological advancements, and evolving best practices.
Like any other product or process, you should incrementally improve your development, deployment, and maintenance process, as well as your own Definition of Done. Accomplish this by reviewing and refining the process based on feedback, technological advancements, and the latest best practices. This will help you ensure your process remains efficient and effective, and that it continues to meet the needs of your users and your organization while advancing your engineering. You can call it quits when you've made the world a better place, but until then, keep iterating!