Sadly, it appears that arbitrary deadlines simply will not stop plaguing me. I’m not Einstein, but if there’s no REAL limiting factor that requires a deadline to be met, then people NEED to re-evaluate those deadlines for reality’s sake.
I’m almost always on some deadline or another, but today’s deadline is simply bizarre. I have to complete a major task today (I can’t divulge it, as it could reveal the client) and I could really use the weekend to buy some time. I presented this to the project manager. I said, “Are you working on this over the weekend?”
“No,” he said. “I’m not authorized to work weekends.”
“Oh,” I said. “So, can I get this to you Monday, 8AM?”
Without any thought or hesitation, he said, “No, the project plan lists today as the deadline and if we can’t get your deliverable today, we will have to delay the deployment date.”
Here’s the thing: While I could see that my task was important, I could not see why it was critical path. Really, if I finish by five pm, and he isn’t going to work on anything until next week, then in my mind, there’s no difference to the project between Friday at 5pm and Monday at 8am. But I could really use the time to complete my task with as much quality as I can. “So,” I said. “If I turn my stuff into on Monday at 8AM, you aren’t going to accept it simply because I didn’t finish on Friday?”
There was silence on the other end of the phone. I guess he saw the insanity of his position. Still, he persisted, “I’ll accept it, but it will be better if you get it to me today.”
The thing is that I’ll have no problem finishing today, it’s just that the insanity of a date on a plan that has no meaning doesn’t sit well with me. Reality should be the arbiter of all human action and when it isn’t, I spin out. “Fine, I’ll get you everything by today, COB. ”
“Great!” He said with such excitement that I figured he was facing some kind of wacky political pressure. Even though I create several things as part of other projects, I am also a project manager and I believe in the project management lifecycle, almost dogmatically so. I’ll never understand arbitrary deadlines; for projects to be truly successful, deadlines will always need to be attached to resources and dependencies. If a deadline is attached to anything else, it’s probably full of crap.