by Alex Duncan | September 13, 2010 – 12:02 amBuzz
Aside from this being a shameless plug for a site run by two friends and fellow entrepreneurs, it’s also a chance to highlight a common problem startups and small companies face; hitting a deadline.
I don’t remember exactly what date Joe originally told me the site would launch, but it was sometime back in July. To cut a long story short every time I asked Joe via chat when he thought they would be going live he’d name a new date in a couple of days time. This isn’t a negative comment against either Paul or Joe, far from it, they’re two highly capable people for whom I have a great deal of respect. I’m more curious as to why this happens so often and what I can do to try and improve.
Many people are probably familiar with the uncompromising attitudes of people like Seth Godin and David Heinemeier Hansson. They’re both very successful, but are they necessarily right? I’m sure nobody disagrees that shipping your project at all is essential to achieving something, but does it have to be on deadline or just in time?
I’m possibly the worst culprit when it comes to the type of over promising and under delivering which inevitably leads to deadlines being missed. I constantly chide myself for it and simultaneously let it happen again and again. I remember reading once that small companies are the worst culprits, I forget the exact statistic, but it was something along the lines of small businesses miss 70% of their internal deadlines. From my experience at VirtualVillage.com this was certainly the case. I struggle to think of a single time that anything happened on time or on budget, but the sales continued to happen and money kept rolling in. As of now I don’t have the experience to tell me just what an acceptable amount of tardiness is.
Hopefully I’ll get chance to talk to Paul and Joe in the coming weeks and find out more about what happened in their specific case, in the meantime I think I’ll go grab one of their lunch deals as yet another of my deadlines slides past.
Update: I think this might be where the statistics on project completion originate from.