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Deadlines: Emphasis On “Dead”

, , | Working | January 5, 2022

I’m a year and a half into the development of a new web application for managing complex data sets. Our boss has never been able to provide proper specifications for what he needs, just a flood of vague ideas with no real detail and constantly changing scope.

My job is to try and turn this into a comprehensible list of tasks that the dev team can actually follow. Each month, I have a planning session with the boss where we hash out the next period of work. Each session, I remind him that changing the scope means adding more time.

We agree and sign off the work to be delivered by the end of the month. So far, we’ve hit every deadline.

I thought we had a pretty good system in place until:

Boss: “I can’t believe we’re so far behind and how poorly you’ve managed this project.”

Me: “What do you mean? Haven’t we met all the agreed deadlines throughout the project?”

Boss: “I’ve made a spreadsheet of all the dates I wanted each feature done by. So far, you’ve missed every single one of them.”

Me: “Excuse me? We’ve always delivered what’s been agreed on time. Where have these new dates come from?”

Boss: “This is how long I thought the work should take and I made up my own timeline.”

Me: “I’ve never seen these dates before, let alone agreed to them. At a glance, many of them seem extremely optimistic.”

That’s business talk for “f****** mad”.

Me: “We agreed at the start this would be at least a three-year project.”

Boss: “Well, I decided it should take less time and you’re late. I’m going to have to pull the plug on this project if you can’t have everything wrapped up within the next month.”

I politely remind the boss that there was at least another year and a half of work left to complete the project. I’ll probably be looking for a new job shortly.

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