Monday, August 10, 2009

Expectations

The old adages about under-promising and over-delivering are ringing in my ears today. I am in one of those unfortunate circumstances where I am on the receiving end of a pile of work from a number of people, which I will then need to manipulate and modify for our purposes to create a finished product. My chunk of the work not only will take hours, but will actually require me to be in the office, which is increasingly lonely after 7pm. 

The vendors from which I have the subcomponents coming have been more than a little inaccurate in estimating their delivery times. I understand that things come up, and that every job is different, but we have asked for fairly routine tasks that typically take .. say.. 1-2 days. Their estimate, not mine. And they committed to the timeframe for delivery. Friday morning. Friday night. Monday morning. They even moved some of them up! And, they have been unable to meet their own estimates by at least 50% of the total processing time. So, on a 2-day deal, they were 1 day late. Without, btw, almost any communication.

The challenge is that A quality work, 1 day late, becomes B quality work. Not because it is any different, but because I expect more with an additional day's effort, because I am waiting anxiously for that additional time, and because, in a collaborative game, you better deliver something much closer to a 100% finished product when you eat an extra day of my time - since my deadline hasn't shifted an inch. 

At a minimum, they should be more proficient at setting expectations. And at keeping communication up. And, if they can't make the timeframe, at admitting that. I know my bar is set high, but when you set your own bar, you better meet it. 

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