When You Have An Unreasonable Deadline

You know it will happen, if it hasn’t already! That project you are working on has suddenly been brought forward and the deadline is now imminent. How could they do it to me, you ask! They are guaranteeing a lower quality result, if they insist on that deadline!

So what can you do?

Firstly, take the initiative. You must recognise what the result might be if this decision can’t be changed. Then you can ask something like, “Would you approve the steps I have to take to meet that delivery deadline?”

Expect a question like, “What do you mean?” You can then state that something will have to give in order to achieve that deadline. It could be the level of quality won’t be as high, or there will be reduced quantities produced, or the presentation won’t be as formal as it could be.

Get advanced recognition of these results. You might need more resources to achieve the goal. If so, state what you need to achieve it.

If you still get a firm “no”, be certain that the problems you encounter on the way are recognised, but don’t complain about the conditions you faced. It makes no sense to make an issue of something you can’t influence after the event.

You can, though, reflect on what caused the deadline to be moved and find out what you could do to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Also, ask yourself some searching questions;

Did you leave starting the project too late in the first place, thinking you had ample time to complete it?

Did you ask too much of yourself and tried to achieve perfection with the project?

Whatever the outcome, find out what you can learn from the experience, and spend some time with your boss after the project is completed to discuss the implications and create a proactive plan to make sure, if it happens again, what standards your boss is looking for. That way, you reduce the risk of being caught out next time.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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