RE: Deadlines - Extend or Deal? (LONG)

Subject: RE: Deadlines - Extend or Deal? (LONG)
From: "Jonathan West" <jwest -at- mvps -dot- org>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2006 14:23:55 +0100

Hi Mandy,

I think that a brief meeting with the VP who interviewed you would be a good
idea. Your aims for that meeting should be as follows:

1. To explain the delays you have suffered in receiving the information you
need. Don't do this in a way that blames anyone. After all, family
emergencies can happen to anyone and aren't your or anyone else's fault.
Just state the facts. You've done it quite clearly here, so you know what
needs to be said.

2. To state that you will bust a gut trying to meet the deadline despite all

3. To warn him that it might be impossible even given your best efforts,
especially if more features appear which you were unaware of.

4. To obtain whatever support you need in terms of cooperation from SMEs in
order to get the manual finished. That includes in particular helping you
find out if there are other bits of the product you were previously unaware
of which need to be documented.

5. To find out a bit more about what the other VP had in mind regarding this
list of other documents. It could be arranged for somebody else to compile
the list while you get on with the manual.

After all, if this is a major new product which they are expecting to make a
lot of money out of and the manual is now the critical path item delaying
the launch, they ought to be falling over themselves to help you get it

The SME who has been the cause of the delays should be aware that you are
holding this meeting. You don't want to be going behind his back. You and he
might even do the meeting together with the VP. The image you want to
project is that you are being calm about this, that you are doing your
professional duty warning him of a risk to the schedule arising from
circumstances that have arisen since the deadline was set and that are
beyond your control, that you are doing all you can to minimise the risk and
asking for support and cooperation in that aim.

By the sounds of it, they are at least as inexperienced about knowing what
they need to tell you about the manual as you are in obtaining the
information you need. If they are in any way fair, the VP and SMEs will
recognise that, you will all learn something from this and apply the
experience to doing it better together next time.

Jonathan West


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Deadlines - Extend or Deal? (LONG): From: Mandy

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