December 18, 2007
Resist The Pressure of Arbitrary Deadlines - A Christmas MessageMany project deadlines are like Christmas. They are arbitrarily chosen dates, and the consequences for not being ready on time are mostly in our heads.
But the pressure feels real enough, if we let it. Christmas is a compulsory holiday. You must celebrate it, even if you don't believe in God, let alone Christ. And you must send cards and give gifts. And you must eat Christmas food and drink Christmas booze and watch Christmas TV in the afternoon as the food and the drink make inactivity inevitable.
"Never mind", said Santa. "You can always finish off the use case model in the New Year"
And for the days leading up to Christmas, you must run around like a blue-arsed fly getting your entire life in order, both at home and at work. It's like we think civilisation is going to end on Dec 25th.
And how many projects have their deadlines in the run up to Christmas? How many IT departments decide that "it can't wait until next year"?
So the week before Christmas can be somewhat hellish, if you succumb to the atmosphere of panic all around you. And people will try to make you panic if you don't look panicked enough. They'll organise back-to-back meetings and start piling up the Dec 24th deliverables that just have to be finished before the Christmas break.
My tip is to fill your online diary with fake appointments and set the expectation that "it's probably going to have to wait until January" as early as possible with these bastards. After all, it's just another week, isn't it?
when you get back from your break, refreshed and re-invigorated, you'll do a better job of all these tasks you could have ended up rushing (and botching), so you'd be doing everybody a favour.
Posted 12 years, 11 months ago on December 18, 2007