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Is it more important to follow our documented process or to meet the deadline? "I only ask because our deadline is arbitrary and our documented process was pulled out of someone's lower torso." "Where's your artificial sense of urgency?" "Teamwork killed it."
Coworker: Did you finish the design according to my specs? Dilbert: Yep. Coworker: Hypothetically, if I had forgotten to mention several features, would that be a problem? And let's say the deadline is still the same. Dilbert: No problem. I always plan my schedule around your incompetence.
Dilbert says, "I'll never be able to finish my project on time." The Boss says, "You need to take ownership." Dilbert says, "Can I hire more programmers?" The Boss says, "No." Dilbert says, "Can I reduce the number of features?" The Boss says, "No." Dilbert says, "So...I'm just taking ownership of the failure?" The Boss says, "Don't be greedy."
Negotiations Continue. Salesman: I can't meet your delivery deadline unless you agree to my price today. Dilbert: If you don't agree to my price today, management is likely to do a reorg soon and change its mind about this project. Salesman: How often does that happen? Dilbert: It hasn't happened since breakfast, so we're overdue.
Boss: How many days will it take to finish the tests? Dilbert: Three. Boss: You have two. Dilbert: I can't do it in two days. That's why I said three. Boss: That was before I used my leadership skills to tell you to do it in two days. Dilbert: Leadership doesn't change the laws of physics. The test takes three days. Boss: You have two. Leadership! These test results look incomplete. Dilbert: Just like my soul.
Boss: When do you think you can get that done for me? Dilbert: Depends. If I had no interruptions, I could finish in four hours. But we have to factor in the inefficiency of your management. For example, you're likely to give me six new projects before I get started on this one. And you force me to work in ta noisy office surrounded by all the people I need to avoid to get work done. Given all of that, I'd say it will take seven months. Boss: I'll give you three months because I'm a leader. Dilbert: Oookay. And... how much of the three months will involve you standing there?
Dilbert: I invented a way to regulate my mood with an external brain stimulator. Boss: You're supposed to be organizing the company picnic. Dilbert: Did you serious expect me to do that without an external brain stimulator?
Boss: Wow, I had an amazing weekend at my mountain cabin. Wine, friends, food, and amazing views! Dilbert: I worked all weekend because you said you would fire me if I didn't get this done by your arbitrary deadline. Boss: You're a terrible listener.
Alice: I worked all night to finish my part. Coworker: I admire your work ethic, Alice. I only finished half of my part. Alice: Wait... if you didn't finish your part, it was a total waste of time for me to finish mine. Coworker: That's one way to look at it. Alice: What time last night did you know you would not be done by today? Coworker: Must have been about six. I got hungry, then I had to unwind. Are you trying to make my head explode by focusing anger at my skull? Alice: First time that worked. Practice paid off.