by Amanda Pearl, Project Manager
The term alone is the bane of most people’s working lives. It’s the term your boss uses that seems to add pressure to a task or situation instantly. You get assigned a deadline, and the clock begins to tick down.
As daunting or annoying as they may seem, deadlines are a crucial and fundamental necessity for any team or business.
So, are deadlines important? Abso-freakin-lutely.
But why do they matter?
- Ensure the job gets done. With no agreed-upon endpoint, it’s easy for a project or task to fall behind or be forgotten entirely.
- Create a productive workflow. Deadlines help you and your team collaborate toward achieving a shared goal. They create a structure to any project that will ensure a timely flow to completion
- Set expectations. Deadlines set expectations for both internal team members and clients alike. Your team knows what to deliver and when and your client knows what they’re receiving and when. Deadlines create expectations which create accountability.
Creating realistic timelines for your work will inevitably create a better experience for all – emphasis on realistic. Over-promising and under-delivering can damage your business or personal reputation. Managing deadlines is as imperative as creating them in the first place. Here are some tips for managing deadlines:
- Set yourself up for success. Evaluate the project to the fullest extent and map out the steps and process needed to get to the end goal. Have a concrete plan with every single detail in place.
- Resources. Resources. Evaluate the resources needed to meet the deadline in time. From people and materials to access and assets, get everything you need as early in the process as possible.
- Time Management. Prioritize your tasks by level of priority and deadline. Work smart, efficiently, and diligently. Save the tweeting and Insta posts for another time and get sh!t done.
- Allow for Problems. If your workload is overflowing or if you are aware of technical difficulties that could possibly arise and interfere, be open about these challenges and allow a little “cushion” room in your timeline. It’s inevitable, unforeseeable issues will arise, but try to evaluate these possible risks at the beginning to minimize their impact. Have a plan in place for if they do arise.
- Damage Control. You missed a deadline – what now? Keep all stakeholders informed of the setbacks, progress, and next steps. Always provide an updated timeline to maintain expectations. Take accountability and plan to review the setbacks experienced and discuss options for risk elimination in the future.
In conclusion, deadlines are your friend. They are implemented to provide structure. Structure creates expectations and accountability. Expectations and accountability aid to a more proactive and productive operation ensuring a successful and timely outcome for every project.