I’ve been on both sides of the managers desk, and recently when talking with another tech, I thought about excuses that I’ve heard and some that I may have used. An important part of any IT department is communication and following through with projects or workload, and someone’s excuses can hurt that department.
I didn’t understand the assignment
We’ve all run into a manager who doesn’t clearly explain what needs to be done, leaving you to guessing what needs to be done. The simplest thing to do, is ask as many questions as necessary to understand the assignment. A manager wont be happy with just saying you didn’t understand it so, you didn’t complete it.
The deadline was impossible
If I had a dollar for every deadline that I was given that wasn’t possible, I’d be able to retire now. Even if you tell your boss that the deadline was impossible, and it comes to pass, your boss still doesn’t want the I told you so. The best solution that I can find, is that you really need to make your boss understand the problems with the assignments deadline. You need to be able to show or visually paint the assignment with all it’s details, and why it can’t be done in the specified time, then try to negotiate the time. Another way is to come up with a project plan, and show that plan to your manager showing them the exact time it will take, then let them work with you, to get the assignment more time.
The resource was not available
When something that you need to complete an assignment is missing, then let your manager immediately. There is nothing that frustrates a manager more than the deadline of a project passing, because something that you needed wasn’t there and they weren’t notified, especially when it could have been fixed or avoided. I’ve had the deadline of a project come, and information not be available because the information wasn’t there. That wasn’t the time or place to hear that, the project couldn’t be stopped, and I was missing important information.
I have personal issues
We all at one time or another have personal issues, but there is a point where personal issues become company issues. I am usually a person who keeps work at work and home at home, though I will talk about a little bit about both. When your personal life becomes a hazard then your manager may start getting upset with your “personal” life.
I don’t know what went wrong
I’ve used this one, and it’s not what managers want to hear. Projects fall apart for many reasons and sometimes there are multiple reasons and failures on many peoples parts, but you never want to shrug your shoulders and don’t say what happened. Managers often need to report problems to their higher ups, and they wont take “I don’t know” as an answer, so your manager doesn’t accept that as an answer.
The only copy of the work got destroyed
This is equivalent to the old school excuse, “The Dog Ate My Homework”, and it’s just as effective now as it was then. You should always make sure there are backups of your work, just incase something happens. I’ve deleted project material before by accident, and had to bust my but recreating it, there was no, sorry it’s destroyed. The assignment still needs to be completed, so the material still is needed, so make sure it’s there. If you tell your manager it’s gone, see how quickly you annoy them.