Q : Our project manager assigned a project to our team, estimating the amount of work at three weeks.
Our team discussed it and we think it’s realistically about five weeks’ worth of work. After explaining this to the project manager, they suggested working extra hours to hit the deadline.
It’s an insane amount of work and the deadline is in no way realistic. What can we do?
A : The crux of negotiating deadlines is knowing what's really required. If the deadline is to meet some external event (trade show, critical customer delivery...), the useful thing to consider is to reduce the scope of what is to be implemented. But sometimes, that’s simply not an option.
Depending on how planning and fulfilment is viewed at your place of work, the best reaction can be to negotiate more time, more resources, more compensation, less features, etc. Providing a breakdown of what tasks are required and how long they will take to implement is also a positive step.
Remember, pushing back is an important skill to learn in any work situation – back yourself and be realistic.