Then your boss comes in and says that a critical customer will be coming in for a visit in two weeks, and he wants to be able to show a working demo of the portion of the product that you have been working on. He wants you to make this your highest priority. You tell him that you can do this, but that it will have to involve a number of other people working on other areas of the project, and will likely delay delivery of what will be needed for the real product, as you and others will have to take time away from doing that real work in order to get something temporary together for this demo. Your boss says that’s what he wants you to do, as this customer is very important. You do it, and the customer seems happy, although it appears to you that what you demonstrated was really of only mild interest to that customer, who appeared to have other, more important, things he really wanted to discuss with your boss. Your boss seems happy with your demo, but otherwise occupied with other issues related to this critical customer. In any event, you’ve done as you were asked and delivered a good working demo. Nice job, you think.
A month later, you (and the others who were involved) are now about two weeks behind in your project efforts, and your boss demands to know why and how this critical work got delayed. You remind him of the demo he asked you to prepare, but your boss says, “But that was only a quick demo! You never told me that it would delay the project [despite the fact that you did]. This delay is unacceptable and so is your performance! I want to know what you’re going to do to get the project back on track! You know that this project is your highest priority!” You have just become a victim of “Showing Progress vs. Making Progress Syndrome”. No good deed goes unpunished! [See The Schedule Estimate Extortion Game and No Good Deed Goes Unpunished!]