July 27, 2016

Not all deadlines are bad

An interesting question came up during the Q&A portion of my “How to Handle Deadlines” webcast. 

Are all deadlines bad?

No, some deadlines are fine.

My stance on never agreeing to deadlines is specifically with regard to software projects. My reasoning is that no one can control the deadline because it’s an ongoing collaboration, often between quite a few people. 

For example:

Client: “I know we haven’t even started [big project with many stakeholders] yet, but when will it be done?”

Me: “It’s impossible to know exactly when we’ll be done. If everything goes perfectly, it’ll take at least [X months] to complete. But nothing ever goes perfectly.”

That said, there are other kinds of deadlines that I’m not necessarily against.

For example, some folks asked about having sprint “deadlines” every other week.

Lumping a list of tasks into a two week sprint is fine because the work is broken down in a very granular way. The number of people involved in each task is often just one or two. This drastically decreases the potential number of interactions, which increases the chances of the estimates being accurate. 

So, not all deadlines are bad :)



P.S. Here’s a link to the webcast recording if you’re interested: ccst.io/e/jstark5