Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Why do we worship deadlines?

If there is an idol that competes with television in our society, I think it is the deadline.  Why is doing something on time so much more important than doing it right?
I ask merely because I have been killing myself to meet an unrealistic deadline with no resources for quite some time, now, and people are simply unwilling to let the deadline go.  And at this point I'm almost not even stressed about it, because I've reached the bottom of my personal reserve of resources.  I have called in favors.  I have leveraged developers who work hours I don't work so that progress is made pretty much 24 hours a day.  So if it happens, it happens.  If not, not.
But even knowing that we have tried everything and that now there is nothing we can do, there is still this unholy resistance to pushing out the delivery time.  The ship has sailed.  It's not going to happen.  A realistic observer would have known it was never going to happen.  Surely the thing to do at this stage is to inform people that it will change.  But they continue pretending that it's possible we could hit the headline.
Meanwhile everything on the project has been done half-assed.  I hate to speak for the developers, but I know at least one of them would say that he hates the code he wrote for this project.  I know the testing was half-assed.  I know my documentation is half-assed.  I know the migration of the data has been half-assed.  All because a) the date we chose conflicted with a much larger project that sucked all the resources out of the corporate atmosphere, leaving us light-headed, starving, and drinking our own urine (metaphorically speaking) and b) we would not move the date, even when it became clear that we could never meet it given the resources we had.
I have a deadline of my own.  I am leaving at 4:30 today.  I don't care if they're done.  I have a cable appointment.  Is the cable appointment more important than this project?  No.  But I can't count the things I've given up for this project, among them my health, my sanity, and my sense of proportion.  So today, I'm not giving up cable.  It's like a reverse lent for the deadline god.

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