Deadlines are for the Military and Corpses
In projects, we work towards things called deliverables.
They are objectives aimed to be finished by certain dates. A deliverable could be something like the completion of your house foundations if you were building a house.
Generally, we try to achieve that particular deliverable by the prescribed date and that is a good thing to do, we all need to achieve things and keeping those things time bound is critical to actually getting them done.
But too often what we do with projects is have a demand that we go live at a certain date and often that date is arbitrary, ridiculously impossible and is held to come hell or high water.
Being determined to stick to a date for delivery does not make for a good strategy.
What too often happens is that because we are so determined to hold to that date is we push people to breaking point and then deliver a half-baked product that just causes us headaches.
We’ve lost sight of the reason for that project which is generally to make or save us money and the deadline becomes the sole focus.
It’s like moving into a house before the carpet has been laid just because that was the move in date you had determined. All you end up doing is cutting off your nose to spite your face.
NEVER EVER ADVERTISE A GOLIVE DATE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Almost every project that advertises it’s go-live date to the public, goes live with an inferior heap of rubbish that ends up costing the company that shipped it many times more than it would have to have delayed the product launch.
Don’t deliver a project big bang to customers, Advertise a well delivered, implemented and already shipped project to customers.
Wheedle is a great example of what not to do in product launches.
Wheedle were meant to be the TradeMe killer.
They had the funding, they had the big budget TV advertising and they launched when they said they would, but they had one problem. They were not prepared for launch.
Their unprepared product collapsed under the number of site views they had and despite trying a re-launch; which also failed. They had managed to completely kill their own product and no-one was at all interested in them after that.
Millions of dollars had been wasted in advertising and product development just because they chose a date to go live, advertised it to the public and stuck to it. This is why I always advise, stakeholder satisfaction beats deadlines every time.
It is better to ship late than ship rubbish products or projects.
Always remember if you are late, you will only be late until you ship. If you ship rubbish, it’s rubbish forever!
Deadlines are a waste of time in projects unless you are held by some sort of regulatory statute or emergency. Both of which will require you to significantly increase the resources on the project to ensure that timeframes can be easily held.
Never advertise you are going live with a new product until that new product has been in the marketplace a little while and has proven itself to be effective and able to handle the load.
The Finish. DFTBA