Why Project Deadlines do not work

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Project Deadlines Don't Work

Project Deadlines

A reader added this comment, about project deadlines after an article of ours.

See what you think of it.

Deadlines Don’t Work

You’ve touched on all the main reasons why ‘project deadlines don’t work’. It’s an identical name to an article I once wrote, by the way. You hit the nail on the head.

Managers are right to believe that a slight amount of pressure will improve performance. It creates a challenge, artificial or not. This enables people to extend themselves and perform better.

HOWEVER TIME IS NOT THE DEVICE TO USE TO EXERT PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING PRESSURE!

Skills are the device!

If a role doesn’t stretch us we get bored. So, our performance can be much lower than if we didn’t have the skills for the job.

Task Oriented

A little challenge, therefore, over and above what we can do with our eyes closed is good for everyone.

Project Deadlines
Project Deadlines don’t work

The problem is, managers work in a task-oriented world. There are a hundred things to do, and people to delegate it to. Whereas programmers/developers work in a project-oriented world. They have to do more than one task in any given day is rare.

However, as the ‘client’ they control the environment. As such they impose the wrong set of rules which increases the risk.

Project Estimates

Lastly, I’d like to make a point about estimates.

It is true that productivity improves if there are no TIME pressures. By this we mean estimates which they give you in haste but which come back to bite you at leisure. However, this doesn’t take into account that the overall schedule is still the same.This is whether estimates are given or no. It’s just that there are no pressures to reach a deadline.

More importantly, it shows just how bad EVERYONE is at estimation.

Question is : why should they hold a programmer responsible for a wild stab at how long something will take, but the project manager/manager is not ?

As you can see, project deadlines do not work.

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