103 AcademyQ&A

A project has been estimated without consulting with the team. Now, it’s been pushed down to us. What should we do?

Our Project manager made a project’s presentation and assigned it to our team. The amount of work was estimated at 3 weeks.
Our team members discussed the project and we calculated that the amount of work is 5 weeks.
We explained to our project manager that his estimation was too short, to which he replied that we should work extra hours at the office to make sure the project is submitted within the 3 week deadline.
What should we do? The deadline is too short.
Well… working extra hours is not the end of the World if you have proper motivation in place.
Grab the project manager for a talk and try to understand the reasoning behind the short estimation. It might be just a matter of bad communication and the timeframe appears to be very critical for the company:
  • A demo to a very important client should include the features you are assigned to.
  • A widely recognized conference lists your CEO as the key presenter and the success is directly related to your ability to deliver the change.
  • Your team has been a slow performer and this is the company’s attempt to give you the last chance.
    Yes, such situations occur and it is usually very hard to get the answer straight. You should have been updated about the bad performance before and such a test is a clear sign something is wrong with your company. This is another story though.

Now, that you are convinced the goal is crucial to the company’s success, there are 2 options:

  • Working the extra hours and delivering what is required. Do not hesitate to let everybody know – you have worked really hard to get it done. Do not expect anything in an immediate return but delivering the message of loyalty and hard work is important. You do not want to get into a situation when all the future assignments expect your team to work extra hours.
  • Coming up with a set of creative solutions. Try to think about a way of having the plan in place but avoiding the extra work. In case of a demo or a conference, it might be just fine to have a single case in place while delivering a fully functioning product later.
    Bring multiple solutions with you. Give the company a way to select between the proposals you have instead of choosing between a single alternative and the original option.

At this stage, you should have an explanation and a workaround.

Now, get back to your team and advocate the change. Explain the reasons behind the decision and make sure everything is ready in time.

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