#55 - The Case For Missing Deadlines

Long ago, I worked at a software company where they had aggressive, ambitious product plannings.

They would end-of-life a version of a product and then ramp up production of the new version. The company made a lot of money every day. The thing about that was that you couldn't miss even a day. Each day you miss revenue, you will never get that back. So if I was one day late at delivering the software, the company lost a lot of money.

There was a strong case for meeting the ambitious deadlines. A lot of money was on the line.

And I prided myself on hitting deadlines. To the point where fellow programmers made Dilbert cartoons about me shipping a new version with an essential feature not working, but I delivered on time!

And I was known for not coding too neatly. I could code neatly if necessary, but I thought I was doing the right thing. I was meeting the deadline, after all, and that made the company a lot of money.

The thing about that is that people appreciate that you hit a deadline, but a half-hour later, everyone has already all but forgotten about the deadline, and all that is left is the quality of the result. And that is all they see from that point. And that is what you will be known for.

They say that as a freelancer, you can be Good, Fast, or Nice-To-Work-With and that, to be successful, you should have at least two of those. I think you should let go of Fast. Be Good, be Nice-To-Work-With. Of course, it’s okay to be fast, but don’t let it ever take precedence over quality.

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