Mark Pearl

General Notes about Deadlines

Real vs Arbitrary Deadlines

If an item has a real deadline - a date after which consequences will occur, make it apparent. Often we “pretend” to have deadlines to manipulate people into working harder. These are arbitrary deadlines.

Two Types of Deadlines
  1. This is important deadline urgent (mission critical) projects (to prioritize resource allocation and effort)
  2. This is not important deadline least important ones (to limit use of resources and effort)

Prefer to call the “This is not imporant deadline” as a resource limit.

When Deadlines Loose Value

  • When you cannot guarentee the resources they need to complete the item.
  • When deadlines are arbitrary.
  • When it is not clear if the item is a resource limit.
  • When work items are too large or unclear.

Benefits of Deadlines

  • Deadlines can effect the amount of scope creep in work requested.
  • Deadlines ‘force’ people to take action.
  • Timeboxing is valuable for feedback on the chances of an item succeeding.

Disadvantages of Deadlines

  • Deadlines can effect the quality of the work delivered.
  • Incorrect deadlines can place unnecessary expectations on people to deliver.

Parkinsons Law

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”

Wikipedia Article


For quick decisions depend on deadlines
Programmers Deadlines and Agile
Do you really need a deadline

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