Posted by: kerrywills | June 6, 2014

TBD is not on the Calendar

Managing projects means managing a schedule and ensuring that commitments get made. Therefore it always bothers me when I see action items, milestones, risks, issues and decisions without a date or with a date of “TBD.” I find this too open ended and leaves the door open to miss commitments. Besides, I am pretty well versed in the Julian Calendar having experienced its cycles more than 40 times in my lifetime and I don’t recall there being a date of “TBD” on it.

No TBD here

No TBD here

Dates are used to demonstrate commitments, set goals for the team, and track progress. So even if there is not a clear end date, at least identify a target date for when one can be established (a “date for the date”) to manage expectations. But make sure that when dates are set, they are realistic and can be made, otherwise the team will lose credibility. So, the point today is to set dates and then meet them – that, after all, is the secret to managing projects well.



  1. Usually TBD is used when the technical team hasn’t yet provided the estimates to the project manager. This might be because the technical team is waiting on some deliverables to make that decision, or waiting on the availability of some super team members.

  2. […] Kerry Wills notes that “TBD” is not a date on the calendar. […]

  3. TBD is also the least productive resource – I’ve never seen a deliverable produced by TBD!

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