QUESTION: There is still time to complete the Job.
REALTY: Surprises can occur any time, which can delay the work.
There’s a wise adage that says it’s better to do tomorrow’s Work today and today’s `Work now. That, surely, is one way to, avoid unpleasant surprises. A schedule can get jeopardized very easily for a variety of reasons: it could be due to last-minute changes in the project; or to a team members suddenly having to take time off from work because of personal problems; or to the sudden exit of a team member who owns a critical portion of the project.
It is important not to wait till the last moment to complete a job; you should finish it in a timely fashion so that the schedule remains sacrosanct. Sometimes, employees complain that if they were to complete a work ahead of schedule, their manager would dump more work on them. In such a situation, if you are not interested in the new task, you could tell the manager so and inform him about how you plan to use the remaining time. You could use this time in further improving the quality of the completed project or in helping others complete their jobs. Or, you could ask your manager for some interesting work. You can also utilize your time by updating your skills through reading and experimentation.
There’s a downside, too, in doing too much too early—if the project direction shifts in between, then you have to redo the section. Therefore, based on your past experience and the type of work, you need to work towards striking a balance between doing things in such a way that it can be done before the required timeline and for taking care of minor hiccups.
Those employees who habitually try to finish off things at the last moment usually fail to do so. They should be actually seeking extra time from the manager or requesting him to put some more people on the job so that it’s completed on time. However, then there’s the pitfall of the management’s viewing these employees as ‘slow executioners’, Such a label for middle-level or senior employees is especially damaging, as it would spoil their chances of being assigned greater responsibility. So, under all circumstances, it’s always better,. to aim to be ahead of
schedule; then, you can accommodate any last-minute changes and won’t be fazed by surprises.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE EMPLOYEE? If you are by nature the ‘last minute’ type, then you surely have to take steps to do things faster and earlier. It could be that you take things casually or you do not attach the right importance to your job. When given an assignment, you should identify those activities that are important and take them seriously so that you can complete the task within the stipulated timeline. A laid back attitude will hurt you professionally, since you won’t be given mission critical projects.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE MANAGER? You should promote a sense of urgency in the team for important items. But this should not be done frequently or for trivial items as it will dilute the significance of your message. You, should apply different management styles for different types of people so that they all deliver well within the deadline. You, could also do more granular work breakdown and track it frequently. Though people might call you a micromanager, your employees will learn to take things more seriously.