Phil for Humanity Phil for Humanity
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.

The Dangers of Scheduling with your Boss

Be concerned when your manager or boss asks you how long a certain task will take to complete, assuming that no major issues arise while doing the task.

The first sign that something is wrong is that your manager does not know how long the task should take; because they have never done it, they donít know how to do it, and/or they just donít care.

If you are optimistic and you give an estimate for the best case scenario, then that will instantly become your schedule no matter how unlikely the task will be completed without any time delaying issues. So if you have any issues, you will be forced to either take shortcuts or work overtime just to keep to an arbitrary schedule. The schedule will not be updated to reflect issues, since that would involve other managers finding out about the issues delaying the schedule. Furthermore, your performance reviews will not be based solely on your performance on completing tasks and resolving issues, but rather your scheduling abilities too. Therefore, the best case scenario should never be the schedule.

Alternatively, if you estimate the duration of the task to be completed with a long list of issues that could go wrong, then you will be judged as pessimistic and your schedule will be considered over inflated and stretched out. Therefore, never give your manager a complete list of what could go wrong. Instead, just state that there are a lot of possible issues that could arise without going into any details. Even if pressed for details, give previous examples or be vague, just never blame other people or groups for possibly causing issues in the past or future.

Iíve discovered that the best schedule is not the best case scenario, but rather a realistic guess how long the task should take with an extra padding of time to work out any issues that may arise. Typically this extra padding is an extra 20 to 40 percent of the original guess of how long something should take. That way, the task will not be rushed and will be done carefully, thoroughly, and correctly.

by Phil for Humanity
on 11/04/2007

Related Articles
 » The Types of Managers
 » The Benefits of Delegation
 » Demote Managers