"How do you ensure quality whilst meeting tight deadlines?"

(11 Posts)
lljkk Mon 14-Jan-13 11:13:17

I have done such things before but so long ago I don't remember any true anecdotes. So might have to go with the "planning is key" theme. I can plan for England, so no problems there.

slhilly Mon 14-Jan-13 10:38:18

Re-reading your original question, you asked what the best answer was. I think the best possible answer would be if you could tell a short anecdote that described a situation in which you took some specific concrete actions that ensured you delivered high quality to a tight deadline. It should be 1 to 2mins long, and should demonstrate the key attributes you decide are most important (eg planning, check-ins, documentation). Key thing is to make it real for the interviewer, so they can see you really have done this before.

yuleheart Mon 14-Jan-13 10:34:46

I ran a really busy dept with sometimes ridiculously tight monthly deadlines and recently had to interview for an accounts clerk.

Did I employ the person who said 'I'm available for all overtime, I don't mind staying in the evening and coming in at weekends, I know things always go wrong at month end' ?

No, I employed the person who said:

'If we keep on top of everything throughout the month, pre-empt any crisis and work as a team that should give us some leeway at month end if anything goes wrong, which it won't grin.

And she turned out to be gem.

UsedToBeAPixie Mon 14-Jan-13 10:28:43

There's always that possibility! I would stay clear of offering extra hours unless it's brought up though - people I've interviewed have said that to me instead of the other answers and I wasn't sold as really, no one WANTS to do that! I'd much rather have an organised, proactive planner in my team ;)

slhilly Mon 14-Jan-13 10:27:44

A focus on the essentials, ie ruthless prioritisation and frequent discussion / check-ins in case the objectives / measures-of-success need to change because circumstances or understanding has changed.

There are often two different definitions of quality:
- do everything on the original list ("completeness")
- do what really counts to an exceptionally high standard
I find that people who want you to stay up all hours are often focused on the former when they should be focused on the latter.

I would be pretty sure they don't want that answer. I would include prioritising, ensuring realistic expectations, regular checkpoints with all "stakeholders" (awful phrase) as well as the obvious planning stuff.

lljkk Mon 14-Jan-13 10:20:56

Thanks, those are good.
I was thinking "planning is key", too.
BUT, I wondered if the answer they wanted was:
"I will work all hours staying until midnight and back in at 5am every day if I have to, in order to get the work done." In other words, maybe employer has a habit of setting rather unrealistic deadlines. hmm

yuleheart Mon 14-Jan-13 10:16:51

By being pro-active instead of re-active.

By having a clear understanding of my deadlines and the impact on others if these deadlines are not met.

By making sure I have all the resources and knowledge available to me to help me meet the deadlines.

UsedToBeAPixie Mon 14-Jan-13 10:07:19

What kind deadlines are we talking about? Depending on that I would mention things like:

*I make sure I know the deadlines/timescales I need to work to

*Make sure I know the bigger picture - ie what depends on my hitting that deadline and what are the consequences if I don't

*Plan out my project/report/daily tasks to ensure it's not done last minute and nothing is missed (you can expand this depending on the scale of the deadlines - use of Outlook calendar/diary, project plan, to do lists, milestone meetings etc...)

*Ensure I have the right resources before committing to a deadline (including time!)

Bit sleepy right now, but I'm sure more will occur to me...

Good luck!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lljkk Mon 14-Jan-13 09:48:01

What's the best answer to this question in an interview or on an application form?
(Forgive me for Shameless mining of MN minds)

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