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I belong to a developer team in a senior position. I am not on the project management side. I am facing a frequent issue.

  1. Let's say our project's start date is 01-01-2018. The deadline of the project is also decided but without taking the development team into consideration. Let's say deadline is 01-05-2018.
  2. Now, as per step 1, everything gets planned and the development team starts working on a deliverable with 01-05-2018 in mind.
  3. Now, after one month or something, let's say 15-02-2018, we again get a new surprise that we have a new client and they want to deliver something by 01-04-2018 with many things that were not in scope during the initial plan.
  4. They want that without changing the plan for 01-05-2018. From my point of view this is not possible. (Our new team member is over his/her head initially; the on-boarding process took 3 to 4 weeks.)
  5. Now, the team is still not settled with the new plan for 01-04-2018, and receive new requirements, as someone new is in a top management position and thinks that the project is not up to the level. It is, as per specification and no direct complaints from the client, but the new member thinks that the UI needs drastic improvement. So many more changes are required - with the deadline still intact. (No new team members.)

The above happened over a short duration. It impacted team morale as well as the morale of the person who handles the team.

As per my thinking, there should be some concrete plan, at least for some period, if they want a delivery date intact.

What would be suggestion in this case?

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    Hi, welcome to PM.SE! There are plenty of similar questions under the deadline that might answer your problem, such as pm.stackexchange.com/questions/8783/setting-project-deadlines , pm.stackexchange.com/questions/11164/… , and pm.stackexchange.com/questions/6247/…. If these help you, we can close this question as duplicate. If they do not, please clarify what's specific about your scenario that's not covered on previous questions. – Tiago Cardoso Feb 20 at 12:42
  • @TiagoCardoso I have read the suggested question but it seems that my question and view point is different. Also Sarov has edited question nicely so now it make more sense. Main problem I want to concern is 1. Main Project Management Team vary scope any time 2. Overall moral of team and work cycle that get affected due to that. – dotnetstep Feb 21 at 4:15
  • Could we summarise then the question problem statement to "how to manage low team motivation due to unrealistic project estimations given without consulting development team?" – Tiago Cardoso Feb 21 at 11:24
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Preferred Solution

Insist and/or suggest (depending on your culture/seniority) that a Change Management Procedure be put in place.

The concept being:
Since a Dev team's time is a zero-sum game, for everything they add they have to subtract something else (or extend a deadline).

Alternate Solution

If that's not possible, then you need to insist that they give you priorities.

The concept being:
Since we don't have more time, what do you want us to do first? As is well-documented, multi-tasking a Dev Team only slows them down.

Underlying Problem

Based on what you wrote, the underlying problem is that Standard Project Management Principles are not being implemented.

If the developers were not consulted on how long the work will take, then how are they fixing deadlines? If you cannot create a Gantt Chart then the entire scheduling is a charade.

What you really should do is take the deadline given and return it with a Gantt chart of the milestones you agree to supply and their delivery dates. IOW, if the deadline is engraved in stone then the amount of work needs to be adjusted.

Every time they add work, you resubmit the list of deliverables you agree to, and assume that the new work has higher priority, if nobody agrees to tell you otherwise.

At the very least, you will be able to say (when you miss their impossible-to-reach deadline) that you informed them from the start that you would miss their impossible-to-reach deadline. This is not a childish I told you so, but important because (real) managers like and need to be informed as early as possible that a deadline will be missed.

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