All too often I have found myself unwillingly involved in projects that have a fixed delivery date, even before any estimates have been produced by the team that is delivering the work. For those who aren’t familiar with software engineering, it’s kind of like an estate agent saying when a house will be ready for sale without ever asking the builder when it will be built.

OK, OK, we’ve all been there, “the customer has a fixed date for their marketing”, a “seasonal event must be taken advantage of”, or we must be “live before everyone is off on holiday”. Well that’s OK then……erm, hell no! It’s unfair to project the poor planning of others onto the team who is to deliver the work. You want to keep the customer happy and hopefully make some money in the process, but in the long run I think running a project in this way is detrimental to your customers, company and staff.

If you run projects in this way you will set customer expectations and working practices, which can never be undone. No matter how explicit you are to your customer. You’ve done it once, so you can do it again and again. You may have met the deadline one or even twice, but one day, you’ll mess up and the customer will be pissed. They will always want quality to be high, it’s just customers don’t always know it.

Your company will start to loose money as you will have to start paying overtime to keep people compensated, but not motivated. You can kiss good bye to getting any quality of work out of them. By the end of it all you’ll start to loose staff. Often your best staff as they will be they key players in the team who are continually called upon to go the extra mile.

So please, please, please, stop doing it!!!

For further reading: Managing projects with unrealistic deadlines -