The Deadline Is Your Friend


This industry runs in fear of deadlines. Designers cower when the word is spoken and developers – well, ‘it takes as long as it takes’ is the standard response.

Just lately, as I approach probably the busiest I’ve ever been in my career I’ve learned to embrace the deadline and it’s become one of my biggest allies.

Deadlines set targets, they unite the project team (client included) and get them all focusing on a single goal and that is a good thing. Everyone needs to be singing from the same sheet if you want to deliver a knock-out project on time.

So what happens when you don’t have a deadline? Expectations differ, decisions become less urgent and prominence gets taken way from the project. This leads to a very unordered work-flow and ultimately makes the project much more difficult to manage.

On any given project, I tend to set numerous internal deadlines as well as numerous deadlines with the client. Why? I do this because it is much easier to manage a project in small chunks. It allows you to constantly assess how far you are from your goal and is a really good way of helping you to plan should you start to run behind or even in front.

Don’t fear the deadline!

Comments


Phil Thompson:

28 Nov 2008 16:16:00

Deadlines are vital – provided they are realistic:)

Although, even a deadline so tight whereby the entire team is forced to stay back late to get the work finished on time can be, rather perversely, good for morale – so long as the management make sure:

a: it doesn’t happen too often
b: it is properly rewarded with ovetime/bonuses/days off in lieu

michelle:

08 Feb 2009 08:54:09

Really good read, I really like working to deadlines and will work all hours to make sure one is achieved but quite often I find my clients push all deadlines out of the window, I find it very hard to get some of my clients to keep to a deadline. Good read though, thanks :)

Edd@wantedd:

04 Mar 2009 17:11:07

I agree with Phil deadlines a vital, as tight as some of them may be, they are usually at the outset of a client relationship and once a few have been met you can settle down into meeting more realistic ones.

Lessons are learnt and on the whole I try to exceed expectations when it comes to deadlines, when freelancing for agencies deadlines are usually more realistic. Having said that I worked for a reputable agency from my study at home on Sunday evening at 10:38PM for 9.00AM the next morning because I was lucky enough (or stupid enough) to check my email, Horlicks in one hand and good book in the other… I guess I was tempting fate!

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