MYTH: Time was not sufficient to complete the work.
REALTY: No work can take infinite time.
It often happens that when work does not get completed in the stipulated time, the employee responsible for it complains that the manager had not given him adequate time. Every assignment has a timeline to ensure that the work is completed ‘Within the deadline. It is important for a manager to involve his ,‘team in discussions about work distribution and the timeline. In some cases, while both the employee and the manager may not agree with the ‘aggressive’ deadline set by the senior management or the customer, they still try to see if they can pull it off. In such circumstances, the manager ought to make things clear to the senior management, so that no one is penalized if the timeline is not met with.
Whatever the circumstances, if one foresees that the committed schedule can’t be met or that the scope of the work has changed significantly from the initial understanding, then one should revisit the schedule commitment. The issue becomes acute when the manager is informed at the last minute about the delay, leaving very little time to take corrective action. Normally, a manager can salvage a project in several ways. He can do it by putting more people on the project, or looking for external help, or by explaining the problem to the management so as to help set up a new timeline with the customer.
No work can take indefinite time; each work has to be bound by a timeline.
Estimating the amount of effort and the schedule required to carry out a task is a key skill and, with experience, one gains accuracy in such estimation. Often, there is a ‘time-to-market’ pressure in the corporate world, and the schedule is predetermined. To bridge the gap between the two schedules is one of the biggest challenges faced by managers and their teams. It’s a reality that many a project fails to stick to the deadline; only a few are completed within the stipulated timeline. A timely result is a reflection of good project management practices and also of a good team. A good team, when challenged with aggressive goals, can achieve what looks impossible for others. Here, the manager’s leadership skills play a key role in motivating his team to rise to the occasion.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE EMPLOYEE? If you have signed up for a work and are not able to do it within the defined time limit, most excuses will be considered lame. If, in the beginning, you had felt that the time was too short, you should not have agreed, or you should have at least raised the issue at the appropriate time so that the manager could have helped. It could be that the work was new to you and so you could not estimate correctly or that you depended _upon your manager’s estimate and agreed to do it. No issue if you are slipping; either you should ask for timely help or put in extra effort to regain the lost time. Giving up should be the last option.