How to manage and meet deadlines
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Deadline and how to manage it

August 22, 2023
7 min.
Views: 75

The first known leader to set a nationwide deadline was Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin. His strategic slogan still resonates to this day: "Complete the five-year plan in four years!" With such a project team leader, it was difficult to argue, and all factories were striving by any means to accomplish the assigned task.

In the 1990s, deadlines began to be treated more leniently, allowing for the non-compliance with the delivery of services and products within the previously agreed-upon time. This especially applied to rare and specialized items and work. However, the scarcity decreased over time, and competition increased.

Today, deviation from the agreed-upon timeframe, of course, does not lead to arrest or exile, but it also brings a multitude of serious problems. This is particularly noticeable in the field of information technology, where it is sometimes even difficult to explain to the client that the deadline shift occurred due to the addition of new tasks by them.

Consequences of non-compliance with deadlines in development

Loss of Trust

Customers expect the project to be completed on time, as promised. Even requesting an extension of the timeline can lead to doubts from the client about the choice of the contractor. Not to mention the consequences of concealing delays, which will eventually come to light and completely undermine further constructive cooperation.

Missed Release Date

A delay in implementation often results in justified dissatisfaction from the client. If the client had confidence in the contractor, conducted a promotional campaign, and announced an exact product release date, and it all falls through, it's not just a matter of mistrust in the executor. The client's reputation is also at risk. They are unlikely to want to deal with someone who once allowed such a blunder.

Financial Losses

Deviations often create additional costs related to increased time and resources required to complete the project. Furthermore, the client may demand compensation for the delay.

Decreased Quality

Rushing due to tight deadlines often leads to a decrease in quality. Important quality checks may be skipped, or there may not be enough time for optimization. The disappointed client ends up with a raw product that still needs further work.

Loss of Competitiveness

In the rapidly evolving technology industry, delays can mean missed opportunities for innovation and competitive advantage. Companies that fail to meet deadlines risk falling behind their more organized counterparts.

Legal Consequences

In some cases, it's possible to peacefully negotiate deadline extensions with the client, especially when delays are initiated by the client themselves. However, in some situations, disputes over the root causes of time deviations can escalate to legal action. A documented and breached agreement outlined in the contract can lead to unpleasant legal consequences, such as fines and lawsuits.

Ignoring deadlines and deception in timing affects all aspects of a project: business, finances, reputation, client relationships, product quality, and team productivity. However, despite this, the problem continues to remain relevant.

Why lie about deadlines

  • Errors in Time Estimation. Software development often turns out to be more complex and costly than initially anticipated.
  • High Competition. Reducing project timelines can be a tool in the unfair race to win clients.
  • Communication Problems. Deadlines are not always set based on the team's real capabilities and assessments.
  • Fear of Punishment. In some cases, project participants fear punishment or termination if they fail to complete tasks on time.

It's important to understand that dishonesty about deadlines is unacceptable and unproductive behavior. It worsens the situation and erodes trust within the team and with stakeholders. The best approach to time management is honest assessment of capabilities, transparent communication, and readiness to adapt to changing circumstances.

6 tips for managing deadlines

I. Set Realistic Deadlines

One of the most common mistakes is underestimating the time needed to complete tasks. To avoid this, you need a deep understanding of your skills and capabilities, as well as consideration of potential delays.

II. Fully Understand Client Requirements Before Building the Backlog

Before getting to work, it's essential to have a clear understanding of the client's goals and requirements. Defining deadlines starts with breaking the project down into smaller tasks and sprints. Detailed analysis of time, resources, and priorities should be conducted.

III. Anticipate and Plan for Risks

Regardless of thorough preparation, there's always a chance of unforeseen situations. Identifying risks, finding solutions to problems in advance, and incorporating them into the plan will help the team react to changes more quickly and with minimal losses.

IV. Implement Flexible Approaches in Team Work

Agile and Scrum methodologies have gained popularity for their ability to adapt to changing requirements and priorities. Instead of rigidly adhering to deadlines, they suggest completing tasks in stages, with the option to adjust iterations and carry over unfinished work to subsequent sprints.

V. Ensure Communication and Transparency

The team should regularly discuss progress, obstacles, and reasons for delays. This allows for the timely identification of issues and the implementation of measures to address them. Additionally, timely communication with clients or stakeholders helps avoid misunderstandings and negativity.

VI. Prioritize Tasks

Not all requirements and features have the same level of importance. The key is not to waste time on less significant tasks while delaying critical ones. As practice shows, completing priority functionality first makes it easier and faster to handle the rest. Clients will also feel more at ease knowing that the important elements have been implemented on schedule.

Meeting deadlines can indeed be a mysterious concept for some and a routine practice for others. We won't pretend that we've never encountered issues with this, but we always make sure to inform clients about potential risks and delays when tasks are added. For maximum transparency, we maintain open collaboration and even allow interested parties to connect to our corporate ERP system to monitor the project's progress.

Web application development

We will work out the concept, create an adaptive interface, expand the functionality of digital products and test for errors. We will find approaches even to non-standard tasks. You will receive a web application based on a modern technology stack with relevant solutions for your business.

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Publication author:

Azarnova Lubov


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