Slack enables systems to function with more efficiency. That’s because unavoidable delays and errors compound in a system that doesn’t have enough buffer space.
But fake deadlines don’t solve this problem. Fake deadlines exist when we can’t trust others (or ourselves) to be clear about our progress or prioritize honestly. So we invent a date before we actually need something to arrive.
The challenge is that fake deadlines compound. Once someone on another project realizes that they’ve been outfoxed by a fake deadline, they’ll simply escalate their urgency as well. Or perhaps the provider realizes that we’ve been faking the deadlines, and so now there’s a whole new level of guessing about what the real deadline is.
Professionals don’t need fake deadlines and don’t respect them. Instead, we have the chance to build in appropriate slack, get our priorities straight and keep our promises.