Musings

The problem with deadlines

I met Anna Vikström on Nybrogatan 38 for breakfast. We talked about web analytics and conversion about 80% of the time, but there was also a lot about working models, environments, efficiency, and working methods. One thing she said stuck properly.

The challenge with deadlines is that they do not decide the last possible time to do something, as it is supposed, rather when it is done.

Since many of us, including myself, have too much to do, the relationship to deadlines is just-in-time or just before the deadline. Just that approach to deadlines leads to the above challenge. That deadline determines when something is done.

An assignment will not be performed as soon as possible after a priority, but it will be done in time for the deadline. Perhaps the quality is also governed by this phenomenon.

Is it that we set deadlines because they are easier than prioritizing? If we had been better at prioritizing, I mean if the organization or team as a whole had been better at prioritizing, then maybe we did not need deadlines the same way we use them today?

What do you think? Should you set deadlines or can we work with priorities only?

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