Business tips

Consulting 101: Working Round an Unreasonable Deadline

by Brad Egeland

Final Up to date: Oct 31, 2018
Consumer expectations do not all the time meet up with actuality within the consulting enterprise. So what do you do when a shopper expects the challenge you had been employed for to be completed a lot ahead of is feasible? Listed below are four steps for dealing with an unrealistic deadline.

dealing with unrealistic deadlines
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We have now all been handed duties or tasks or consulting requests with deadlines that simply did not appear potential. It is frustratingly painful, nevertheless it’s how fast we are able to assume, what steps we set in movement to attempt to treatment the mess we have been handed or discovered ourselves in, and the way we selected to maneuver ahead that finally ends up actually defining how the engagement goes to go, and possibly whether or not we are going to ever do enterprise with this shopper once more.

One software program customization and implementation challenge I took on a couple of years in the past had a 180 day go dwell date. I instantly said that I did not consider that was potential. My group – after some detailed evaluation – absolutely agreed. However the buyer – one of many large gamers in aviation – had already dedicated to a agency rollout date that was 6 months out via a number of extremely seen press releases to main aviation websites and publications. So, based mostly on that info having been shared internationally, there wasn’t a lot that could possibly be modified – the implementation date wasn’t actually movable.

Consulting 101 Collection

Given a scenario to the one I laid out above, what do you do? For starters, it’s possible you’ll wish to have a pleasant lengthy dialog with the account supervisor or gross sales man who closed the deal and for some loopy motive gave the shopper the concept 180 days was a potential deadline to fulfill (so hopefully it should by no means occur once more). However THEN what do you do?

This is what I did and, typically, the steps I took:

Reset buyer expectations. First, should you suspect there could also be an issue with the deadline, handle that with the challenge shopper as quickly as you presumably can. You do not have to say “We completely cannot meet that deadline,” nevertheless it’s okay to provide them a heads-up that you simply forsee their set-in-stone deadline as a possible drawback.

Work out what might be moved to “subsequent part.” This could all the time be the next step in discussions with the shopper. Often, on nearly any engagement, there are the rapid “prerequisites” and the secondary “good to haves.” Negotiate to maneuver sufficient of these “good to haves” out to a later part in order that the “should have” performance might be prepared inside the required or promised window on the challenge schedule. The bottom line is to attempt to not power your shopper into paying extra to get what they want by the deadline. They need to nonetheless get the entire performance they had been promised for a similar value if in any respect potential – even when it takes two tasks to get there.

Work via the vacations and add employees. Lastly, do no matter it takes to get it achieved – if in any respect potential – by the deadline initially promised. For me – on the aviation challenge – it meant taking my group to Phoenix over Christmas for 2 weeks to hurry up the ultimate work and roll via person acceptance testing and be prepared on time for go-live. It wasn’t a memorable vacation within the good sense, however we made it. And at the least to a point, I believe the shopper appreciated it.


It is by no means enjoyable being confronted with one thing you merely consider cannot be achieved. A minimum of not with out some main restructuring and negotiation, presumably some misplaced income or free work, or a pissed off buyer who could not wish to do enterprise with you once more. You simply must maintain the strains of communication flowing, be upfront and trustworthy about your considerations and negotiate with the shopper’s satisfaction in thoughts. It isn’t a time to be egocentric. Consider it extra as a time of giving, than taking away. 

© 2016 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Will not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed with out written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.

Brad Egeland is a Enterprise Answer Designer and IT/PM advisor and creator of A Actual World Mission Supervisor’s Information to the Profitable Mission. He has over 25 years of software program growth, administration, and challenge administration expertise main initiatives in Manufacturing, Authorities Contracting, Inventive Design, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Begin-ups, Healthcare, Greater Schooling, Non-profit, Excessive-Tech, Engineering and basic IT. Brad is married, a father of 11, and dwelling in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Go to Brad’s web site at



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