“Do You Really Need a Deadline?” is a post I found interesting in the light of my current “deadline” pressures. Related to the post, I also found comments on the post to be interesting, such as this one which said “I NEED deadlines to work. If I don’t have them, I don’t get anything done. The worst thing possible for me is to be given time.”
In the referenced post I absolutely loved the statement that “With custom on-demand projects, clients often fail to understand that meeting a deadline and completing a project on time is the responsibility of both customer and vendor …” While I’ve never really thought of it in quite the same way, I’d have to say that the statement reflects my experience completely. I’ve often commented to associates that when I first meet with a prospective client I’m interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing me. There are prospective clients with whom I’ve met that I hoped would never call me back. In many cases I had perceived in our preliminary discussions either that they wanted something for nothing, wanted yesterday with no responsibility of their own, or were so set in the “way it has to be” that we just didn’t “fit”.
As for deadlines, they can sometimes be set as the result of outside factors over which one has no control such as buying a new company and having to replace their system which was under the control of another larger, remote entity — after a certain date it would no longer be available. The deadline is very real, as opposed to arbitrarily assigned deadlines based upon nothing more than “who knows what logic?”, maybe just a “nice-to-have” idea.
IMO deadlines are NOT evil — unless — they are totally arbitrary and unrealistic, or so structured for adherence that a vendor will sacrifice quality or reliability “to meet the deadline”, or invoke any one of a multitude of other negative events to “appear” to have met the requirement. Let’s face it, that many need a deadline to get anything done is not uncommon, but may that deadline not be life or death.