Community//

Fast is not always Right.

A critical piece of information when setting goals at the beginning of a project is understanding the expectation of timeline. Over the course of my corporate career, I heard more times than not a delivery date of “yesterday” or “as soon as possible” with the obligatory chuckle that comes with asking for something unreasonable. As […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

A critical piece of information when setting goals at the beginning of a project is understanding the expectation of timeline. Over the course of my corporate career, I heard more times than not a delivery date of “yesterday” or “as soon as possible” with the obligatory chuckle that comes with asking for something unreasonable. As a project manager, it was my job to strategically uncover the motives behind the unreasonable expectation while also ensuring we met the other predictable goals around quality and budget not to mention mitigating unknown, yet inevitable, obstacles that challenged our success.

I never got frustrated with these answers because they are so predictable. It’s like when a waiters asks you “how was your meal?” and you say “terrible” as you laugh and hand over a plate you’ve all but licked clean. What this answer allowed me to do was open a dialogue around strict adherence to an aggressive project plan that typically requires the client to run at a pace faster than they are used to. Being on the consultant side of that deadline, my main focus was the delivery of the project, however my clients usually didn’t have that luxury because the project were typically in addition to their normal day to day job.

So, a simple “we can run as fast as you can” as we’ve run this race before worked well. We almost always slowed down during engagements where unreasonable timelines were requested because the opening pace is just too fast for the client to maintain.

This brings me to a clarification I would like to make when it comes to delivery expectations: fast is not always right. This does not mean you cannot do each task quickly, but there is an important distinction between “fast” and “quick” that must be understood. While it may seem like fast and quick are synonyms, by definition, “fast” refers to speed and “quick” refers to timeline. Therefore, “fast” is more closely synonymous with “rushed”. When I think of rushing through something, I anticipate mistakes and missed requirements.

So in the interest in accomplishing all strategic goals, let’s not try to do things fast for the sake of hitting a deadline. Let’s take a moment in the beginning to understand true project requirements and work quickly to complete tasks thoroughly to allow us to deliver on quality, on budget and quickly, which usually satisfies a reasonable timeline expectation.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

how to be organized and stress free
Community//

How Using Project Management Tools Keep Me Organized and Stress-Free

by Ben Wright
Community//

How to Thrive When Transitioning to a New Role at Work

by Andia Rispah
Wisdom//

5 Ways to Master the Art of Asking Questions

by Kathleen Welton

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.