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Poll: How often do you overshoot your deadline?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 14:40
SITE STAFF
Nov 18, 2005

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How often do you overshoot your deadline?".

This poll was originally submitted by Palindrome

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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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 23:40
German
+ ...
"Honesty is such a lonely word" - Billy Joel Nov 18, 2005

Come on, >70 % say they NEVER overshoot deadlines?

I can hardly believe that - it's a lofty goal and one that we constantly strive for, but I don't believe such a thing as perfection exists at all.

Sh*t happens, people become sick overnight, Internet connections fail, hard drives crash. I don't know if I really want to work with someone who says they NEVER miss a deadline...

Anyway, it's just a thought...
Benjamin


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Anabel Martínez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:40
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Maybe the question should read Nov 18, 2005

"Have you overshot your deadline".

I don't claim this is something that might not happen, but based on my experience till now, I can answer "never". I guess many users did the same (or I want to think so). Such accidents may happen, but hopefully they are rare!


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:40
German to English
+ ...
Liar comes clean Nov 18, 2005

tectranslate wrote:

Sh*t happens, people become sick overnight, Internet connections fail, hard drives crash. I don't know if I really want to work with someone who says they NEVER miss a deadline...

Anyway, it's just a thought...
Benjamin


O.K. Ben - so I lied! I overshot ONE for the first time last week when I was sick for the first time in four years with flu that I caught in the state of which you are a resident. The client could not have been more charming and understanding. ;-p

Otherwise, I always ask to see files first and give people MY deadline. 8 times out of 10 they buy it, I can deliver early and I have a "safety zone".

If they don't buy it, we don't work together on that project and I see that as their problem.

Rgds
Chris


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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:40
French to English
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impressive Nov 18, 2005

I would love to be able to say that I have never missed a deadline, but like Benjamen says, sh*t happens! Like a pregnancy complication landing me in hospital, or two kids both throwing up all night long. However, even in these difficult situations, I managed to get in contact with the cient *ahead* of the deadline to let them know I wouldn't be making the intital time we agreed upon. Needless to say, they were pretty understanding
So I voted less than 10%.
I think there is a big difference between overshooting a deadline but letting the client know as much ahead of time as possible under the circumstances, and simply missing a deadline due to poor planning, time management or what have you.


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:40
German to English
+ ...
Honest Injun Nov 18, 2005

Mara Bertelsen wrote:
However, even in these difficult situations, I managed to get in contact with the client *ahead* of the deadline to let them know I wouldn't be making the initial time we agreed upon. Needless to say, they were pretty understanding

As an erstwhile outsourcer, I can confirm that this is absolutely vital. Retrospectively though, we were let down very, very seldom because we negotiated deadlines with translators. If the bottom line did not fit in with the client's requirement, work was split over several translators. No problem, because it was independently reviewed as a matter of principle.
Next time I'll ask to borrow your micrometer to measure the figure before responding

Chris


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Anabel Martínez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:40
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Difference Nov 18, 2005

I would also say that there's a big difference in attitude and professionalism between missing a deadline without further notice to the client vs. informing the client you will not be able to meet the agreed deadline (specially due to some kind of accident as stated earlier in this forum).

As Chris said, if I see I cannot meet the deadline, I just say no. If it is negotiable, the client will understand and let me know.

Regards,

Anabel


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Johan Jongman  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 23:40
English to Dutch
+ ...
Depends on the deadline Nov 18, 2005

I tend to be more "flexible" with flexible deadlines.

For example, I have one client who will say that they want a particular translation back by, say, Wednesday EOB. But they know that I know that they will review the translation in-house and they won't start doing that the same Wednesday - so they don't really need the file until Thursday moring. That's never a problem.

So that's why I had to answer "less than 10%" - otherwise I don't overshoot deadlines.

[Edited at 2005-11-18 12:50]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:40
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Some guys DO pace themselves, you know! Nov 18, 2005

Instead of taking on something they're only marginally sure of completing, they calculate their output and negotiate fair deadlines before they accept.

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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 23:40
German
+ ...
Prudent negotiation is part of any good business practice... Nov 18, 2005

Parrot wrote:

Instead of taking on something they're only marginally sure of completing, they calculate their output and negotiate fair deadlines before they accept.

That's a good attitude, I guess, and keeps both the client and the translator out of trouble most of the time.

Thus, of course I'd always give the translator all the time he/she needs (or switch to someone else who is less busy right now), but as I mentioned before, you never know what might happen down the road...

Delays are very unfortunate and the importance of keeping deadlines is undisputed. But IMHO that does not mean I couldn't be proud to say that despite the frequently tight deadlines which are a reality in our business, our company delivers "only" >97 % of all translation orders within the agreed timeframe.

Benjamin


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Dinny  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 00:40
Italian to Danish
+ ...
I might be lucky, but I'm not a liar Nov 18, 2005

Yes, I think I have been lucky that nothing big has happened to me EVER to prevent me from meeting a deadline. I know the possibility is always there, that's why I check the documents first and agree with the agency on a fair deadline in view of the contents and difficulty. If the agency insists on a shorter deadline I simply tell them I shall not be able to do the job. That's it. Then they usually come clear, unless of course they have another ten translators on hand who could do it quicker. My deadlines are based on normal working hours daytime - but in the back of my head I have this reassuring feeling that should something come up I can still work through the weekend or through the night and still meet my deadline.

But overshooting? NEVER!

P.S. OK, to be fair, I have OFTEN had to work through the night and for the whole weekend!

[Edited at 2005-11-18 17:02]


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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Always plan with some extra hours for any force majeure Nov 18, 2005

When fixing deadlines I always add some hours (or days, if bigger projects) so I could still have a chance to meet the deadline even if something unforeseen should happen. Regular clients know this and of course also appreciate it if they even get the delivery one day earlier than agreed.

And there is a psychological factor in this, too: If you agree with client to deliver on Wednesday noon but deliver already on Tuesday afternoon (because text was easier than anticipated, your CAT was friendly or simply because you had a good day at the office and your fingers danced like maniacs across the keyboard), client will be happy and maybe grateful. If you just suggest Tuesday and deliver on time, client will just take the delivery and that's it.

Now and then some clients come and suggest just unrealistic deadlines - in such cases I explain to client that I really need more time in order to do a quality translation. After all, translators are no machines and there is a certain (individual) amount of text you are able to handle within one day. If client can't wait that long, I'm sorry, but then it's no deal. No use to agree upon deadlines you can't meet.

Regards
Erik

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Julio Torres
Mexico
English to Spanish
+ ...
I write "never" Nov 19, 2005

I write "never" only because is closer to 1%.

And this 1% is due to problems with Internet that I can't prevent.


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Javier Herrera
Spanish
I think the question should be... Nov 19, 2005

How many times have you missed your deadline? Never, once, twice, three times, more than three.
It's happened to everybody sometime. But I think there has to be a borderline group who can't answer "never" because they've missed it occasionally, but who can't answer "less than 10%" either, because the percentage is next to nil and saying they're in the slot between 0 and 10 would be misleading.
J.


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Antje Harder  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 23:40
Swedish to German
+ ...
Always calculate conservatively Nov 19, 2005

Erik Hansson wrote:

When fixing deadlines I always add some hours (or days, if bigger projects) so I could still have a chance to meet the deadline even if something unforeseen should happen. Regular clients know this and of course also appreciate it if they even get the delivery one day earlier than agreed.

And there is a psychological factor in this, too: If you agree with client to deliver on Wednesday noon but deliver already on Tuesday afternoon (because text was easier than anticipated, your CAT was friendly or simply because you had a good day at the office and your fingers danced like maniacs across the keyboard), client will be happy and maybe grateful. If you just suggest Tuesday and deliver on time, client will just take the delivery and that's it.


Erik, I absolutely agree with you - that's how I always handle my projects, I always add a certain percentage of time.

This is especially important if you have small children who tend to fall ill when a deadline is approaching... and sometimes you discover that a text is more complicated than it appeared at first (and even second) sight.
That way I have never missed a deadline until today - touch wood...

Antje


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