Business tips

Consulting 101: Working Round an Unreasonable Deadline

by Brad Egeland

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

dealing with unrealistic deadlines
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We now have all been handed duties or tasks or consulting requests with deadlines that simply did not appear doable. It is frustratingly painful, nevertheless it’s how fast we are able to suppose, 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 doubtless whether or not we’ll ever do enterprise with this consumer once more.

One software program customization and implementation venture I took on just a few years in the past had a 180 day go reside date. I instantly acknowledged that I did not imagine that was doable. My staff – after some detailed evaluation – absolutely agreed. However the buyer – one of many huge gamers in aviation – had already dedicated to a agency rollout date that was 6 months out by a number of extremely seen press releases to main aviation websites and publications. So, based mostly on that data having been shared internationally, there wasn’t a lot that might be modified – the implementation date wasn’t actually movable.

Consulting 101 Sequence

Given a scenario to the one I laid out above, what do you do? For starters, chances are 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 purpose gave the client the concept 180 days was a doable deadline to fulfill (so hopefully it is going to by no means occur once more). However THEN what do you do?

Here is what I did and, on the whole, the steps I took:

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

Determine what could be moved to “subsequent part.” This could all the time be the next move in discussions with the consumer. Often, on nearly any engagement, there are the rapid “necessities” 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 could be prepared throughout the required or promised window on the venture schedule. The hot button is to strive to not drive your consumer 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 worth if in any respect doable – even when it takes two tasks to get there.

Work by the vacations and add employees. Lastly, do no matter it takes to get it accomplished – if in any respect doable – by the deadline initially promised. For me – on the aviation venture – it meant taking my staff to Phoenix over Christmas for 2 weeks to hurry up the ultimate work and roll by consumer 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 not less than to a point, I feel the client appreciated it.


It is by no means enjoyable being confronted with one thing you merely imagine cannot be achieved. At the very least not with out some main restructuring and negotiation, presumably some misplaced income or free work, or a annoyed buyer who could not wish to do enterprise with you once more. You simply must hold the traces of communication flowing, be upfront and sincere about your issues and negotiate with the consumer’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 guide and writer of A Actual World Undertaking Supervisor’s Information to the Profitable Undertaking. He has over 25 years of software program improvement, administration, and venture administration expertise main initiatives in Manufacturing, Authorities Contracting, Artistic Design, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Begin-ups, Healthcare, Increased Training, Non-profit, Excessive-Tech, Engineering and common 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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