How to set deadlines
In my long history of working in various industries and jobs, one of the most common things that I have noticed is people are generally unable to meet deadlines they set themselves. See, from what I figure, people will often set a deadline in one of two ways:
1 – They set a deadline that is way too short. This might be to impress their manager or other team members or it might be because they have an over-inflated sense of their abilities. Or, it might just be that they don’t know how to set deadlines and manage their time well.
2 – They set a deadline that is way too long. This might be because they have in the past failed to meet deadlines and are scared to promise something they can’t meet. Or they might have a low opinion of their own abilities. Or, maybe they are just lazy.
Whatever the case, and whatever the reason, people will often miss their deadlines. See, if it’s too short, it’s too short. You are not going to make it. Or, if you do, it will be poor work anyway. If it’s too long, what will tend to happen is you will leave it ’til it’s too late before you start working and then in reality, your deadline becomes too short.
How to meet deadlines
The DigiGround team has recently adopted a project board in the office. We write up a list of our current projects and their deadlines, and the team members that are working on those projects. Each morning we go through every project for an update. Team members are encouraged to ask for advice and help if they feel they aren’t going to meet their deadlines. We go over whether they are on track, what is happening with each project and what their plan for the day and the week is.
We also write up a list of the most important tasks for the day on another board and watch as people complete them and rub them off the board.
At the end of the day, we meet again to go over what was said in the morning and the remaining task lists and what jobs and tasks have been completed. If one of the tasks on the important list is not completed for the day, we mark it with an X to show it on the board from yesterday, that it is still there.
This may sound like we are shaming people, but actually the opposite is true. We find that the team members are more open about their tasks and projects and can say whether they are feeling overwhelmed. They are more likely to ask for help, and most importantly our deadlines are being met or even being met earlier than the initial estimate.
As well as using project management tools like Slack or Trello, we find using this tried and tested non-digital method works extremely well because it requires attention from each team member and they become physically invested in the process.
In no way am I suggesting that this system will work for all teams or all businesses. But after a few missteps over the months and years of working together, this one has been functioning very well since we’ve adopted it. We’ve tried a multitude of different methods and some have worked well, deadlines have been met, projects have been completed. But on occasion there has been some tasks overlooked or some team members who haven’t felt they should bother others, or speak up when they are in need of help.
Now we are seeing an increase in productivity and team work throughout the whole team.
Do you need help finding the best system to increase efficiencies in your office? We can work with you to help you with manual or automated systems that will help you achieve your successes in your workplace. Talk to us!