Under-promise and over-deliver

When your boss asks when you’ll have that project done, how do you come up with an answer?

I like to under-promise and over-deliver.

If I estimate that I can get the project done by Tuesday, I might reply that I’ll probably finish it by Thursday or Friday.

Under-promising and over-delivering is a good tactic to keep your boss (or client) happy because most people are loss-averse. That means that they dislike losing something of a certain value more than they like gaining something of equivalent value.

Concretely: your boss would feel the sting of you being two days late more than she would feel the pleasantness of you finishing two days early.

Under-promising is not being dishonest. It just keeps both parties happier. And who doesn’t like it when someone over-delivers?


— Peter

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