No More Deadlines!AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” ~ John Ruskin
“I need it yesterday!” Did you ever have to hear that? Personally, I like to imagine people who say such things wrapped in plastic and lying on Dexter Morgan’s table.
Everybody is in a hurry in the corporate world. And don’t get me started about the world of technology startups. One must build a sustainable business before resources run out—and they usually run out immediately.
Nevertheless, focusing on speed can be a very destructive thing.
I’ve been there. I worked for 15 years for an established company and in the last 4 years I’ve been trying to get FacileThings to be a sustainable business that can help improve the lives of many people—my clients’, my partners and colleagues’, and my own. And I realized that rushing things is not good. Never.
I have seen how, by having to deliver a project on a particular day (arbitrarily decided by someone who needs to demonstrate his power somehow), a working team goes through incredibly stressful weeks only to end up generating a poor quality product, which will then elicit complaints and reproaches from the customer, which will then elicit more work, more expenses and more stress.
You cannot trade time for quality. When using shortcuts to finish something a little sooner, you are generating a debt that you will have to pay later. Whatever lets you go faster now will eventually turn out to be a brake, not to mention that it will drain your morale or your team’s, as well as all the available resources.
It’s okay to set a realistic target date for completing a project. That will help you focus and keep your motivation high. But there is a difference between a target date, in which you would like to finish a project, and a deadline, an insurmountable date after which the world will end if you haven’t finished that project.
You must be more flexible. Generating quick but low quality work won’t help you become a better professional.
If you want to be truly productive, you must not focus on speed. Instead of constantly putting out fires, investigate the root cause of each problem and implement a real solution, not a patch. It will take you more time today, but will save you a lot of time in the future. And no one can complain about a problem that no longer exists.
You must find your own working pace, the one in which the speed with which you produce things is perfectly balanced with the quality of the output and the amount of stress you are willing to tolerate.