One reason founders get pulled away from their leadership work is firefighting on client projects.

Often, I find, these problems originate in misunderstandings about what we mean by something being 'done'.

That results in poor estimation, flawed planning, bad surprises, arguments — and then budget-overspends or over-servicing.

While a writer may think 'done' means copy emailed, a designer may think 'done' means a Figma file being submitted, or a developer may think it means code committed‚ other colleagues (and the client) may think there are more steps until something is really done.

'Done done'.

For example, the copy will need proofing, a brand tone-of voice edit, a social media version, sign-off, and so on. The code may need documenting, automated tests, a peer review, and merging.

As the leader, to reduce the frequency of being pulled in to fix these problems, the best thing you can do is enable alignment from the start — by coaching each team to create a 'definition of done'.

This is a checklist that needs to be completed before any work on the project can be considered 'done done'.

You can also adopt definitions of done on internal projects and the day to day AgencyOps.

When is the onboarding of a new staff member done done? When is a proposal done done?

When your team swings into action, make sure everyone agrees on what done looks like.