How urgent do you want that request?

"I need this done ASAP, it's urgent"

Sounds familiar? How often do you hear those words or something similar?

It seems to me that all too often managers and users think that by adding the word 'urgent' to any request it will magically get done quicker. Well, here is a bit of news for you:

When everything is urgent, NOTHING can be urgent!

Urgent as a word starts to lose it's meaning. Tasks get completed in a normal time scale because everything is urgent and so prioritization becomes useless.
It almost seems that the word urgent is tacked on to the end of every request simply because people are scared that if they don't add the tag then the task will never get done - No doubt this is because of the high volume of urgent work flooding the team!

The problem with using the term urgent is similar to that of the boy who cried wolf. I'm sure that there have been occasions when genuinely urgent problems have been ignored because that person has cried urgent too many times. Demanding something urgently also has serious implications on quality. Often my response is "Do you want this right or right now?" The bemused look as people try to figure out what I mean is a picture.

In many ways the cry of 'it's urgent' comes from people who have real trouble understanding something I term 'real time' that is, the amount of time a job will take to complete. These are the people who can't understand why it takes half a day to deliver a fully secured, configured server and hence add in the 'it's urgent!' comment.
If these people really do have a valid urgent need EVERYTIME they ask for something then somewhere, something is terribly wrong and probably very badly planned to boot.

I know that right now there will be a bunch of people complaining that it's not their fault, they just pass on requests from above and that may well be true but somewhere an urgent need for something trivial has developed.

In many cases, the company has lived with the item/fix/software/whatever since it's inception so WHY is that very item suddenly so urgent? Most annoyingly the results of many urgent requests have a habit of dying a quiet death only to resurface years later as another urgent request.

Next time you need something urgently have a think. Is it REALLY urgent or is it just you don't want to have to wait?

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Maidstone
IT Person | Veeam Vanguard | VMware vExpert | Windows admin | Docker fan | Spiceworks moderator | keeper of 3 cats | Avid Tea fan