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How to Handle Unreasonable Deadlines Software Development

August 26, 2022

Salt timer to track your deadline progress

Introduction: How to Handle Unreasonable Deadlines in Software Development

If you’re a software developer, you know that unreasonable deadlines are sometimes part of the job. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept them as inevitable. There are steps you can take to handle unreasonable deadlines in a way that minimizes the impact on your work and your well-being. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to handle unreasonable deadlines software development. 

Calendar to count down unreasonable deadline for software development

Why Are There Unrealistic Deadlines in the Industry?

It is likely that as a software developer you have encountered countless unrealistic deadlines. But why is that? Well, an unrealistic deadline can be the result of many factors. 

For example, a client may have set a random deadline because they don’t understand the process. People are always excited for their new software, especially if it is solving a problem. But if it has bugs or doesn’t work as expected it only causes harm to launch and create more headaches. So, in this case, take the time to explain to the client what all goes into creating the code they desire.

Another reason there are unrealistic deadlines is because some clients may only be interested in getting the job done as quickly and inexpensively as possible, sometimes expecting a high degree of quality. These clients may not even consider the resources and time needed.

Furthermore, another likely reason for unreasonable deadlines is that some programming specifications that are vague or incomplete. This makes it difficult for the software programmer to figure out what the expectations of the client are. 

Man typing furiously to reach his unreasonable deadline in software development

Conditions Out of Your Control

Lastly, some unreasonable deadlines are because of particular market conditions. Such conditions include suppliers, licenses, competing software, client expectations, government regulations, and more. While some of these conditions are under your control, like client expectations, others are not. An example of this is when a client seeks to launch their app or website on a specific day for an event or holiday. When this is the case, consider taking the following steps. 

Up close of code as one researches how long to learn coding

How to Handle Unreasonable Deadlines in Software Development: Communicate Openly

So, how to handle unreasonable deadlines in software development? Communicate. If you’re a software developer, chances are you’ve experienced an unreasonable deadline. Maybe a client asked for an impossible feature, or you’re running into many unexpected bugs. Whatever the case, do not let the pressure consume you. Instead, communicate with others on your difficulties. Open communication between development and client or development and project management is huge here.

Be Honest

If you are running into issues in the code, then you need to explain what you are doing and what the plan is to overcome it. Try to come up with a middle ground or set better expectations. It may not please the other parties, but at the end of the day, it is better to have something that works smoothly rather than something that was thrown together out of frustration. 

Dark room to work on code last minute

Look for Important Connections

How to handle unreasonable deadlines in software development? Work smarter, not harder. Oftentimes, projects have overlapping parts with each other. Analyze how your project could coincide with other projects at your company working on the same client or deadline. If you figure out a means to align your software project with a very similar one, then you may experience a more efficient solution and improve your turnaround time. Essentially, you have found a shortcut! 

Suppose, for instance, that you are integrating your software with software created by another team. In this situation, you can share relevant info and resources to evaluate and improve the development process. The sharing of resources, depends on coordinating the abilities of software developers and engineers and. By doing so, one makes the deadline easier to reach.

Man stressed and wonders how to handle unreasonable deadlines in software development

Prioritize Tasks

If you are working with an unreasonable deadline, then it is best to prioritize the most important tasks. With software development, this means that thorough testing, Q/A should be done before launching anything. Bugs & functionality should be prioritized over everything else. Another tip to deal with unreasonable deadlines is to divide the big tasks into small tasks. In this way, not only are the tasks easier to handle, you can also better estimate how long everything will take. You can communicate this to your client or project management. 

The Goal is Good Enough, Not Perfect for Unreasonable Deadlines

How to handle unreasonable deadlines in software development? Go with what is good enough. With unreasonable deadlines, it is best to go simple. This means that instead of finding a perfect solution that is probably complicated, find the simple solution that you usually ignore. Listen, it may be difficult letting go of your perfectionism, but it will be more difficult having to confront that you missed the deadline. Thus, focus your energies on finding the solution that requires the least effort but bring you the most value. After all, you can always turn your good enough projects into great later on, when you have more time. 

Planning how to handle unreasonable deadlines in software development

“Must Haves” vs “Nice-to-Haves”

How to handle unreasonable deadlines in software development? Focus on the must haves. As mentioned above, our perfectionism often gets in the way of getting jobs done on time. We may want to add different things to the project because we “could” do it and we “want” to do it. But, it is important to understand you must focus on what you have to do for the project. Everything else can come later. A good tip is to identity the core requirements to complete and release a project. Once you’ve identified these requirements, focus solely on them. Eliminate everything else for now. 

Clock ticking down the minutes as person questions how to handle unreasonable deadlines software development

Dealing with Scope Creep and Unreasonable Deadlines Software Development

One of the most frustrating things that can happen during a project is scope creep. This is when the client starts asking for more and more things, often without realizing it, and expecting them to be done for the same price and in the same time frame that was originally set. It can be tough to deal with, but there are some strategies you can use.

Set Requirements

When you meet with your client, make sure you set the basic requirements for the product. It is important to document these requirements and ensure that they are accessible to all parties involved. This way, you can always return to the document to show that what will be done and prioritized are the basic requirements. 

Communicate (again)

If your client does start asking for additional things, explain that these are outside of the scope of the project and will require additional time and money. If this is a project for a client, explain that you can do these things separately, but they will cost extra and will not occur in the first version of the project, but rather in later versions. 

Focusing on finishing the code on time

Set a Change Control Process.

A change control process is designed to deal with scope creep by ensuring that changes to the scope are made only through an agreed-upon process. This usually involves getting approval from all stakeholders before making any changes.

While a change control process can’t always prevent scope creep from happening, it can help to keep it under control and ensure that any changes that are made are done in a controlled and deliberate manner. There are the steps: 

  1. Proposal: This is the procedure for how somebody, either the client or teammate, will suggest a change. It should include details such as the intended purpose, the expected benefits, and a plan. 
  2. Summary: The second step is to to make a summary of the impact of the change and define its associated costs or benefits. The summary should also include its effect on your schedule, any new risks that may have resulted from this change, and any other projects it has affected.
  3. Decision: At this point in the procedure, you or the project manager decide whether the change will be accepted, rejected, deferred, or accepted with conditions.
  4. Implementation: If the change occurs, then you should develop a plan, create schedules, and establish a timeline for making the modifications to the scope for your project. 
  5. Closing the change: Lastly, once you complete the change, you need to close the issue. 
Cool laptop to code on

Stay Calm

How to handle unreasonable deadlines in software development? Stay calm. If you’re feeling frazzled, take a deep breath and remind yourself to stay calm.

Of course, it can be difficult to stay calm when you’re faced with unreasonable deadlines, but it’s important to remember that getting worked up will only make the situation worse. Take a few deep breaths and try to focus on the task at hand. If you can keep your cool, you’ll be able to get the job done more quickly and efficiently. Moreover, staying clam helps you think more clearly and make better decisions. This is important because when you’re under pressure, it is easy to make mistakes that can cost you both time and money. Additionally, being calm shows your client and team that you’re in control and can handle whatever comes your way. This can help boost morale and keep everyone on track.

Remember, no matter how chaotic things may seem, you need to prioritize your mental state. In this way, you can optimize productivity.

Developer who likes coding

Don’t Procrastinate

The last tip for how to handle unreasonable deadlines in software development is to make sure you don’t procrastinate! It can be tempting to procrastinate when you’re facing an unreasonable deadline, but it’s important to resist the urge. Because deadlines can cause fear on a biological level, it is important to take a step back or go for a walk when you get overwhelmed. Maybe even drink cold water or dunk your head in ice water. All these things help you reset your nervous system, so that you no longer feel you are under threat.

Moreover, if you find yourself putting off your work until the last minute, it may be time to reevaluate your approach to deadlines. There are a few simple steps you can take to avoid procrastination, including breaking down your goals into smaller tasks and setting realistic timelines. By taking these measures, you can ensure that you meet your deadlines without sacrificing the quality of your work.

Teaching coworker how to handle undergrad

Conclusion: How to Handle Unreasonable Deadlines in Software Development

In conclusion, unreasonable deadlines for software development can be handled by breaking the project into smaller tasks, communicating with the client, and setting realistic expectations. Moreover, the software developer should prioritize the basic requirements and seek connections with other projects. Lastly, it is important to stay calm and focused throughout the process so that you do not end up procrastinating the project. By taking these steps, you can ensure that the project is completed on time and to the client’s satisfaction.