Have you ever imagined how life would have been without deadlines in everything we do? Deadlines are important as they help individuals and businesses to save time and resources on a given project or assignment.
Put differently, deadlines set the pace at which things should move. Manufacturers have a deadline regarding what should be produced by what time.
Perhaps, deadlines are more pronounced in the day of a journalist who has to produce a story or documentary within some of the strictest deadlines in the world!
From a financierÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s point of view, time, cost, project scope and quality are some of the core target functions in project management whereas a project manager often looks at constraints as well.
Now, if deadlines are that important, why is it that in Malawi we are fast becoming a country of no deadlines for most projects? Perhaps save for a few private sector projects, most public sector projects miss deadlines to the annoyance of many a stakeholder.
Take road projects currently underway, for example. With pomp and fanfare during ground-breaking ceremonies, we have always been told such a road would be ready in two or three yearsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ time. But come the set deadline, nothing is on the ground. In some cases, not even a quarter of the work has been done.
Phase two of the Masauko Chipembere Highway, spanning about 4.3 kilometres, is one example of a project that has missed deadlines, naturally raising fears of increased costs.
The Nsanje-Bangula Road, Zomba-Jali-Phalombe-Chitakale Road and Karonga-Chitipa Road are other stalled road projects.
The other could be roads are longer, covering a distance of 50 kilometres and above. But, honestly, the excuse of fuel shortages aside, why should the four-kilometre stretch of Masauko Chipembere Highway take more than 12 months?
For the next six months, Malawians should also brace for more power outages due to rationing of supply by the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
This follows failure by the contractor rehabilitating the Nkula B Hydro Power Station to meet the December 31 2011 deadline. Now the deadline has been extended to June 30 2012, if the Escom statement is anything to by.
When deadlines are met or beaten, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction is felt! Stakeholders in every project should think outside the box.
We cannot go on with the business as usual mentality where deadlines are not met.