You can not do it…. No, really you can’t.

Well, I used to take those words and think I can make the impossible happen.   Then I sat down this morning and thought about it.   So here are my wild thought, light bulb moment – whatever you want to call it.

Your boss has a project.   It’s a great project!  It’s one you want to work on.  As usual the deadline is yesterday.   So she comes to you and says,  “Michelle, this one is high priority, high profile can you get it done yesterday?”  Well no I can’t.  So we go back and fourth until a “reasonable” date is reached.

Tires are screeching at this moment.  STOP!  Wait!  What am I thinking?

I haven’t estimated.  Taken into account the 100 other projects I’m working or even the support I do.  Am I going to hit the date?   I don’t know.  That’s the sinking feeling I have.   I really don’t know.

What should I have done?

  • Grabbed the project the short definition and taken at least an estimate.
  • Write a list.
    • Type out projects I have. (I may, may not already have that)
    • Time to complete.
    • And where I’m at with them.
  • Yes, some of those can be moved to someone else.  Some, it wouldn’t make sense.  Not if I’m almost done.
  • Last and all important is the estimated amount of support that I do in a week.

Now I know.   Even moving some of the projects around I can’t do it.  If we agree my boss and I some might be able to be dropped.

Still I just can’t do it.  Not in the timeframe needed.   Does that mean I’m not very good at my job?  I mean the consultant down the road said they could get it done.  NO WAY!  Yes, they actual can.  They already know what they are doing.  (If it’s a new to you project)  They don’t do support work.  So next time you think to yourself that you CAN do it.  Take time, lay down all the facts, and find out.   You may still have to make it work.   That can cause errors, or your estimate might have been off.   After all you only had the basics to make that guess.   How often do you estimate too much time vs. too little?

But riddle me this:

Is the better employee

A.  The one who always says yes they can do it.

B.  The one that says yes I can do it, if….

C.  The one who says they can’t do it in that time frame and why?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.   There really isn’t a wrong answer.