Saturday, January 22, 2011


Enterprise Architecture, Project Management and Artificial Deadlines (Part Two of Two)

A real deadline is one that really matters from a business perspective whereas an artificial deadline was chosen for arbitrary reasons. While some deadlines should be ignored or at least mitigated, the real ones should be respected. Sometimes, the difference between the two is not so obvious...

So that folks can get their heads around what a real deadline feels like, here are a few examples:

Unless you are from the school of thought that everything is important and that you should never say No regardless of how ridiculous the request, then I think I have made my point. For others who don't get it, I suspect they are in the minority where they are companionless and have no meaningful life outside of work to speak of.

Anyway, the artificial deadline has other behaviors attached to it. For example, you may find yourself having meetings that need meetings to plan them and then more meeting to spread their results. Projects are proposed, formal proposals are drafted, reviewed and redrafted, approved for submission, submitted, approved and then after all the beauracracy, the team is only left with a few days/weeks do to all the work before the "deadline".

Tasks then get assigned to anyone who is free (regardless of whether they are the right person) and overly quick turnaround times are requests. How did we get here? Because someone picked a date out of the air.

The next time you here a phrase that sounds like: The customer wants X by July 1st you need to figure out if this is a real or artificial deadline. If you can talk to the customer and get the deadline moved, then it is artificial. A situation such as "I promised the customer the product would be ready by July 1st, so they've scheduled a demo." is a way of converting an artificial deadline into a real deadline. Conversion of artificial deadlines into real deadlines is a mark of poor management...

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