How do I meet Deadlines?

Ok, Here’s what I would tell you if you were one of my team.

Lifted directly from my team SOPs

Here’s the Deadline Policy

I want you to take the time to do good work, I don’t want you to feel rushed.
But timeliness is very important.
It’s critical that we show clients regular progress, especially in the early stages after a project, when money has just been exchanged.
So don’t wait until the deadline to start the project.

As soon as you are given a job, start it.
Set your own internal deadlines to be proactive.
Things will come up, feedback will be delayed etc.
So always be as far ahead as you can.

Time only runs one way,
so if the client comes back with feedback late, we adjust the timeline to give us more time to work on the project.
But if client comes back with feedback early, we don’t bring the deadline forwards.
The client gets the results earlier, but the timeline will stay the same which buys us time for future unforseens.

We make sure the client knows we are ahead of schedule.
But we don’t squander this extra time by waiting;
We move ahead with the project and build ourselves a safety buffer.

Agreeing Deadlines

We will agree deadlines that work for both of us at the start of a project.
All tasks and subtasks will have deadlines set in Clickup.

I will try very hard to make sure that you are not rushed in your work, that you have plenty of time to think about things, and that the pace is relaxed. Good work can’t happen in a rush 😊.
Once a deadline has been set we need to meet the deliverables for that deadline.

Client Deadlines

Please note deadlines in Clickup are client deadlines.
“due dates” are the final dates by which the phase should be complete, so includes feedback, mistakes, revisions etc.
You should be working to “review dates”.
Internal review dates are about halfway between formal client review dates.

Review Dates

The review date is the date by which you should have progressed as far as you can,
and then you share the work with me for internal feedback.

There may be informal reviews or feedback needed before that deadline, so please factor this in, and don’t leave work until the client deadline, as this may be too late.

If you’re working by yourself, you can set internal dates for yourself to keep yourself in check:

  • Pretend you are the client
  • set your own internal review date ahead of the deadline your aiming for.
  • Self critique your own work
  • Roleplay and ask yourself what I’m going to say, and fix them in advance.

Changing Deadlines

If you think a deadline is too tight
Please tell me so I can factor this into my communication with the client. I don’t bite. 😁
I would much rather you told me a task will take 4 weeks and complete it in 4 weeks, than tell me that a task will take 2 weeks and instead take 4 weeks to complete it…

If things are running behind schedule

Sometimes the client is slow to respond, people get sick, and you might have creative block.
If you feel you will be unable to meet a deadline or feel you are falling behind.
Please let me know as far in advance as possible so I can adjust my response to the client, and adjust any future deadlines to suit.
The earlier I know, the earlier we can find a solution or manage client expectations. 😊

The Key point

If you plan well, optimize your process,

and set internal deadlines well in advance of the actual deadline then you should rarely miss a deadline.

Unforeseen stuff comes up. Always make sure the client knows about it, why, and what the new timeline is.

This way you’ll always be ahead of schedule.
Always underpromise and overdeliver.
That’s how you get happy clients that keep coming back for more.

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Nicholas Robb

Founder, Design Hero
Author of Life by Design

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