Adding Buffer Time

People don’t like deadlines. Deadlines mean you have to finish something you started. That you have to make a decision. And that you are forced to give a response. But the truth is that deadlines often work really well. If the person or company setting the deadline has prominence, then everyone will listen. Nobody will want to miss out. ┬áBut sometimes deadlines have unintended consequences.

I’ve seen it from experience. Deadlines make a lot of people turn in a bad product just be finished. This happens all the time in business school where the notion “done is better than perfect” tends to be the norm.

Other times, people “plan” to start right before the deadline. So in no case will they spend enough time on it, but instead “just enough” time. So in this case having a deadline limits their time spent working.

And some people always just finish after the deadline. No matter when it is and no matter how many extensions you give, they will probably finish right after the time you set. This is happening to me right now with a video I am getting edited. .

So I propose the idea that maybe the smartest thing you can do is add a 48 hour buffer to the back end of the deadline. That way, it accounts for a person being late. It allows you to fix up things that are quickly turned in. And it allows for things like technologyical error that may have occured.

Just keep in mind, that some people miss their deadlines by much more than 48 hours. And sometimes the work to be done after takes longer than that as well.

Friday, March 23rd, 2012 Careers

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.

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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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