Project Management: Do tight deadlines enhance or stifle creativity?

Think about Project Management and all the step-by-step processes developed by each company in the translation industry. We follow them on a daily basis and one of the first things we learn as we enter the industry is that the most important thing is time. We are all chasing deadlines, either for our clients or for our colleagues or for some very important project, which has to be finalized ASAP. Lack of time and tight deadlines are part of every person’s workday in the companies we work for and that also includes Marketing, Sales and all the rest, not only Account/Project Management teams.

It wouldn’t be fair if we don’t consider both of these before we make a conclusion:

People work best under tight deadlines

There are two types of people – those who get triggered by a coming deadline and do loads of work just before the final date and those who prefer to work it out gradually day by day and are ready long before the deadline comes. To some extent, we all push harder when we know a deadline is coming. But for some, the result is excellent and they thrive, while others just suffer the stress and the end product still turns out to be mediocre.

People are more creative when there is time

The second line of thought goes to bringing us a great product when there is plenty of time. Time gives us the opportunity to research, think things over and bring out the best ideas on the table. Afterward, we can turn them into a work of art, not just a product.

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Clients always chase tight deadlines but where does that lead us?

Project Management: Do tight deadlines enhance or stifle creativityTo be able to hand over the project on time is a sales pitch we all use in the industry. It is a must-have for every company. But does that mean we have to agree with a deadline we are given even if that would harm other parameters of the work we are doing? There is no simple answer to that question:

On one hand, we always try to satisfy our client’s requests and the deadlines they require from us. There is, however, another side of the matter – we agree to all deadlines but the quality of the end product suffers. Particular projects need time to be thought over, to be polished and giving time to the translating team will give/provide them with the end product they expect. Sometimes clients are not aware of that and this is where a good Project Manager will take it a step further by educating clients. Information is the trade unit of our time. A short explanation of what the benefits of a longer deadline are will grant the understanding of your client. There is nothing worse than leaving your client hanging without a single word why it takes that much.

And believe us, the explanation takes a lot less time than the excuses you will write if you ask for an extension.