Deadlines

Management reserve: You need some in your schedule. I say so and Seth agrees.

 . . . unavoidable delays and errors compound
in a system that doesn’t have enough buffer space.

But deadlines have to be real, not fake. I say so, and Seth agrees.

Fake deadlines exist when we can’t trust others (or ourselves) to be clear about our progress or prioritize honestly. So we invent a date before we actually need something to arrive.

If you set it earlier than you really need because you assume someone will be late, you just teach everyone to be late. I say so, and — you’ll never guess — Seth agrees.

The challenge is that fake deadlines compound. Once someone on another project realizes that they’ve been outfoxed by a fake deadline, they’ll simply escalate their urgency as well. Or perhaps the provider realizes that we’ve been faking the deadlines, and so now there’s a whole new level of guessing about what the real deadline is.

It’s a form of sandbagging. It’s driven by fear. And it’s super bad for teams, fostering contempt for the schedule in a schedule-driven environment.

So go ahead: Add some management reserve to your schedule. But don’t hide it: Make it visible.

And get everyone on board with meeting every deadline.


Read more here about how schedule pressure affects every aspect of proposal work.

Check out a sample six-week schedule here.