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Poll: Have you ever missed a deadline because you miscalculated the time needed for the project?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:21
SITE STAFF
Mar 18, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever missed a deadline because you miscalculated the time needed for the project?".

This poll was originally submitted by Annett Hieber

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:21
Member (2004)
English to French
I missed a deadline Mar 18, 2009

Because I forgot about the project. It was due on December 26, so my mind was on the x-mas vacation.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:21
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Renegotiated Mar 18, 2009

So far, I only renegotiated deadlines when the actual input material did not match the description originally given by the client, for instance:
- files were JPG, not DOC
- a typo/error on word/page count, or saying X chars to mean X words
- video that should have been provided on DVD came on VHS tape
- originals arrived here several days late
- editing overly disastrous translation, allegedly by a "professional translator"
- corrupted files

I always "pad" my deadlines to cover any unpredictable events. I prefer to deliver early than on time; never late!


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Barbara Cattaneo
Local time: 21:21
English to Italian
+ ...
I never missed a deadline Mar 18, 2009

in ten years, though I sometimes had to work very hard (night and week-ends) mainly due to differences between what the client told me and what the work actually was in the end. Or thanks to the usual "oh, by they way I have another couple of pages, can you fit them in?", which normally means 10 more - same deadline!
But I did it so far


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Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:21
English to German
Deadlines Mar 18, 2009

I also never missed a deadline in 14 years. However, as you all said, it often happens that the material clients deliver differs from what they specified: bad texts not composed by a native speaker, other formats, "some additional pages" which mount up to 30 or so then and similar.

But as Henry I try to calculate some "security time" into the deadline I give to the customer, because I hate it to run out of time and deliver at the latest possible time. I also had periods when I had to work "night shifts" or work through whole week-ends in order to meet the date.

Annett


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Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:21
Member (2008)
French to English
no - but I've put in lots of overtime. Mar 18, 2009

I have one client that I only work for occasionally who does horrible word count estimates - often the actual count is three times the estimate. I work for them so seldom that I forgot the last time to double check their estimate - I won't do that again. Another thing that I miss when checking a job up front is really bad writing style - the kind that has me pulling my hair out and saying "what, what are your trying to tell us"? For some reason, I don't always realize this when I first look at a job, I just see format, subject and length. This always requires a few hours of overtime as well.

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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:21
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
thanks to my past experience Mar 19, 2009

as a journalist, I am neurotically punctual about deadlines. If i think there may be a need to extend, i.e a very large project, i ask if there's that possibility. If i KNOW there's no way i can do it, i'll just say so.

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Clara Duarte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:21
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Mar 19, 2009

I have experienced all the reasons already mentioned. Those certainly make us work harder and do crazy work hours in order to get the job done on time. In these cases, if I know I am able to finish it on time - but not early - by working late hours, I just go ahead with it and I don't ask the client for an extension.

Last year though, I had to undergo surgery when I was about to finish a project, and I had one last part to complete and deliver. I warned the client that it would mean a one month delay. Months after I finished the project, I got several emails from him, asking me to send files again, because he couldn't find them in his inbox! I couldn't believe the nerve on this guy when a few months later I asked him why he hadn't paid me and he told me that I also was late with the delivery. Let me just finish my post by emphasizing that he still hasn't paid me.

I believe I was professional in the manner I dealt with the situation. I broke my golden rule of never letting clients know about what goes on in my personal life, but I thought he deserved an explanation. I shouldn't have bothered to take on his project in the first place, but "live and learn".


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:21
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Does renegotiating the deadline count? Mar 19, 2009

I have had to renegotiate sometimes. The reason often has to do with format of the source text. For example, I had a job with about a hundred figures with little boxes in them - possibly thousands of boxes. Overstriking the original text required shutting off the source language spell-checker each time I went into a little box; otherwise, my translations would morph into something weird. Shutting off the spell-checker took more time than translating. That kind of thing.

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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:21
Member (2008)
English to Italian
Never missed, but miscalculated yes Mar 19, 2009

Well it happened once, I thought a translation could be done for a specific day, so I proposed a deadline to the client, he accepted, but then I found out I needed 2/3 days more... well, two days before the deadline he called me and he said that I had to wait 4 more days to deliver it because he was away on business. Lucky!

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Jutta Wappel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:21
English to German
+ ...
Once - because of illness Mar 19, 2009

I voted "Yes": I did once (but only that one time!) miss a deadline because I was ill. Luckily the client was very understanding and told me to take my time getting better.
But like the rest of you I do usually calculate a few extra days "just in case" - and still, again like most of you who have commented so far, I occasionally have to put in the odd night or weekend shift to make it in time.
I just delivered my last project yesterday EXACTLY on time (whew!) after a couple of busy nights, because my son was in bed with the flu all last week.
(I wonder how the other moms among you cope when their children are ill???)

Still, I have always found that punctuality pays off. My clients appreciate my reliability and regularly tell me so.


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Umang Dholabhai  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 01:51
Member
English to Gujarati
+ ...
Never missed - inspite of additional files Mar 19, 2009

You are right Jutta, punctuality does pay. But then the flip side is that your client takes you for granted and sends you a string of tiny files (the PMs' finishing touches, I presume!) between a large project expecting you to still finish the original one on time.

Usually I always warn them on such occasions of a possible delay in getting back with the major project, they usually agree. But all the same, in spite of all this I do go an extra mile to finish off within the deadline and till date I have never failed in doing so. Amen.


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MJ Barber  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
I've missed one deadline in 12 years Mar 19, 2009

I've only ever missed one deadline in 12 years, and it was because I completely forgot about the project. Oops! I never listed it when it came in. The client called me on the morning it was due and asked me for it. Luckily it wasn't a very big project and I finished it by noon the same day.

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Paul Kachur
Germany
Local time: 21:21
German to English
+ ...
a two-ton elephant in a one-ton trailer... Mar 19, 2009

In lots of cases I told the client I would need a certain amount of time, but let them stick me with a deadline that was just not sufficient and then tried to work around it.

But often I felt like I was trying to load a two-ton elephant onto a one-ton trailer...


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bartnick
Poland
Local time: 21:21
English to Polish
+ ...
Just once Mar 19, 2009

I didn't miss a deadline until a very recent project which turned to be a bunch of compound nouns (various fields - from fluid power, through metalurgy to automotive) not a text. The volume was not very much, but the output was merely 500-1000 words a day which is around 4 times less than my standard output. Fortunately, the customer wasn't in a hurry so it didn't matter so much to extend the deadline.

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