At what cost?

This may be specific to the Indian IT industry but it is something is absolutely disagree with. Very recently, I heard one of my friends rant about how her Project Manager had sent out a mail to the entire department announcing the delivery of their project 20 days ahead of time. This manager got tremendous appreciation for resource management and exemplary planning skills from all layers of the management.

This praise surprises and troubles me to a great extent. Had I been the recipient of such a mail, I’d be more troubled than pleased and here’s why?

  • I would expect the customer to be highly displeased. If the work could be done in less than 20 days of the estimate, why was the estimated date pegged wrong in the first place? Early releases are not always welcome. I’d give an analogy of a warehouse. I expected 50 crates of the product on 5th February, not earlier. Accordingly, I arrange for space to be available on the 5th. Not on the 3rd or the 4th. If you ship early, you are going to put me in trouble! Surprise doesn’t always translate to delight.
  • Henceforth, the customer will always misread our estimates. You’ve set the benchmark in all the wrong ways.
  • How did you achieve the early release? Did you overwork the resources? You most probably did. How else could your estimate be so off the mark? From what I hear from my friend, you had your team working at late hours and weekends too. From an HR standpoint, you did all the wrong things and I’d protest.
  • If you do expect this to have revenue impact, you are damn right! You have affected our revenue rather negatively. Unless you skimp out on all the overtime and weekend pay, including compensatory offs for your team, you haven’t saved us a lot of man hour time. You have also succeeded in an unhappy customer who will pay you just as much if you had finished the project on time. You definitely have unhappy team members on who I’d have to work extra hours to get back to normal.

So Mr. Manager, you aren’t getting any appreciation from my end. I’d much rather prefer on time delivery.

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