There is goal and there is goal.
Achieving the goal we’ve chosen depends on the strategy we’ve given ourselves.
And the strategy depends again on the goal we’ve chosen.
If you limited your goal with a deadline, then your strategy to succeed is to do everything possible to make your goal happen until the given deadline. There are quite a few tactics to make “everything possible”. Among these, there is the choice of calling out for help if there is too much to be done or one of stripping the task until it is achievable in the given time.
A strategy towards failure is to change the goal on the way or to use competing criteria to define the goal.
Changing the goal on the way may lead to failure if there is not enough time to reset the planning and adapt the work. In fact, there is a high probability that solutions which show up on the way are shortcuts with long term costs. Planning and acting differ. As flexible as we may be, injecting a planning phase into an action phase needs extra caution allowing to avoid the pitfalls of the different types of thinking.
Competing criteria make it hard to succeed. Such criteria serve opposing goals. Seeking for quality, for example, is a goal that contradicts deadlines as there is always a detail that can be enhanced. Thus a deadline will always seem to be happening too soon. Achieving one of the criteria will easily leave us with a feeling of “not enough” on the other criteria.
This is where opportunity costs come in. There is always a choice and we need to make it.
A deadline, on the other hand, doesn’t mean that we are done. The choice we’ve made is one that allows us to enhance our work another time if ever it becomes necessary or useful.
If the deadline is one you’ve given yourself, consider the possibility to take your deliverable as a test. You’ve been professional in delivering it. Now, what do the results tell you? Do you really need to enhance what you wanted to change or is something else more important?
An ABT = Always Be Testing approach is a great way to be professional as well as reactive to what is actually needed.