Post written by Brett Gibson, Owner and Vice President of Business Development at AdventureTech
Deadline: Originally a Civil War term for a line that marked the distance a prisoner could go before being shot on sight. (source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/deadline)
When I see an employee who is asked to guess on a timeframe, be held accountable for such random number theory, and then forcibly held accountable to that speculation – I become concerned.
When I hear an IT department say, "We need to identify these timeframes so we know how much overtime we'll have to put in to make our deadline" - I positively cringe.
Many companies still have an unhealthy "adrenalin-junkie" addiction to deadlines because they confuse them with results. The truth is, and what many companies repeatedly fail to understand, is that they are actually incurring larger costs in the form of waste, technical debt, staff turnover, disengaged employees, and eroded company culture.
As this self-induced erosion occurs, these companies get a reputation in the community as a place to avoid, both from consumers and job seekers.
This tired practice of using wartime models for peacetime business practices is both misplaced and corrosive. Comparing workers to soldiers, projects to D-Day beach landings, and acceptable losses/collateral damage to the greater cause……all of this modern day nonsense eventually erodes the very business continuity and productivity gains they were trying to obtain in the first place!
If the goal is productivity – deadlines will guarantee the opposite. Forcing your staff to meet arbitrary timelines doesn’t build morale; instead it builds an unhealthy camaraderie of mutual hatred, resentment and distrust toward management.
Steady, predictable output, determined from actual metrics, gets you there – and more accurately. Agile principles, when applied correctly, have the ability to turn the tide of the deadline culture while simultaneously creating better work environments.
What company in their right mind WOULDN'T want that?
This year, why not change the way you've always done things? Let your employees enjoy the holidays without the threat of looming deadlines born out of someone’s need for their bonus or misplaced desire for a neatly packaged project completed at year end.
The deadline isn't what's most important.