So You Missed Your Deadline…
What to Do if You Missed a Graphic Design Deadline
It’s not ideal, but there may come a time when – for one reason or the other – you have to miss a deadline. In this unlikely and rare event, you need to be prepared to handle the situation with grace and the utmost professionalism. Let’s discuss some “must’s,” and please share your suggestions with us the comments below!
- Face the music head on. As soon as you realize you will indeed have to miss your deadline, get on the phone with your client and let them know. Give them as many details as possible, with as much advanced notice as possible, and be honest about why you are failing to deliver as promised. Let them know what files you will be able to deliver on the deadline (if any) and which files will be missing. Honesty is always the best policy, and this is your best chance at maintaining this relationship.
- Own it and apologize. As expected, your client will likely be disappointed. Show empathy during your conversation. Let them know that you recognize that this situation must be frustrating for them. Express to them that you, too, are disappointed and are doing your very best to make it better as soon as possible.
- Outline a plan. Provide an exact time and date when the proofs and delivery can be expected in place of the original deadline. (Ensure that this is carefully thought through and reasonable. You must meet this deadline. Period.)
- Take immediate action and deliver a stellar next round – something above and beyond their expectations. If needed, ask your team for support and help to accomplish this. All hands on deck!
- After delivery, take time to review your timeline for this project. Where did things go wrong? Use this as a learning lesson. Be realistic about your workload and don’t overcommit.