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I'm coordinating an application that an organization I work with will be sending in. There are a few applicants. I've been trying to collect materials over the past few days, but have been getting spotty responses; I recruited a new person just yesterday, and now the deadline's today.

I myself am quite nervous, and don't want to project that anxiety onto everybody else. That said, I need to submit this application if we want a chance at the opportunity, but I don't have all the information I need from everybody in order to do so.

How would you suggest I follow up with people to make sure we can get this application in? I have sent an email and a text message; I am now waiting on two replies.

Please let me know of any strategies you've used to coordinate people on a tight deadline — while being respectful of their time as well!

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    Perhaps it's just me (?) but I find your phrasing hard to follow, too many ambiguous threads in your first paragraph that don't appear to be cleaned up by the end of the post... – Lamar Latrell Apr 24 at 2:50
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The strategy I see most often in my line of work (IT), is a bridge call. Schedule a call with everyone who's critical to this deliverable and hash out everything, including:

  • who needs to provide what
  • when they need to provide it (give yourself enough time to compile and submit)
  • any blockers to the above

If there is a management structure where any of the above may need expediting with approvals from someone higher up, reach out to them first. Get their follow-up assistance, and, if needed, agreement to be present on the call to re-iterate the priority.

Most important (after the immediate issue is addressed): try to review the processes that led to the last minute scramble, and do your best to improve the workflow for next time.

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    Makes sense and thank you for the clear step-by-step approach! Unfortunately not getting replies to messages so I don't know if I'd be able to schedule a call but trying to do so right now with at least one person! – user103002 Apr 23 at 20:11
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    Texts? Wat? Yo, Dookie, PICK UP THE PHONE! – Mazura Apr 24 at 3:17
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    @Mazura oef... scary :p – rkeet Apr 24 at 6:29
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It's probably too late now, but the situation seems to be that you have a deadline (and submitting applications is one of the few situations where you have actual deadlines), and your friendly colleagues are no help because it doesn't affect them.

You should have started a week earlier. Send out what you need to everyone, and emphasise the importance of that work, and there is a deadline of three days before the application must be finished. Then follow up every day. Three days before your deadline you need to switch to phonecalls or personal visits.

  • I feel like "should have started" is the wrong way to put it. I'm not sure exactly how the second paragraph should start for me to not have an inappropriate gut rejection. Maybe "You should have dramatically increased your requests for input a week earlier"? Different places are different, but in most big company environments I've seen, scheduling permitting, a week to start is not nearly enough time. But it is about when the level of insistence you're recommending is appropriate in most places I've worked. – Ed Grimm Apr 23 at 23:20
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    "because it doesn't affect them" - or because it does affect them, in a way that makes them fails their deadline if they will help. – Mołot Apr 24 at 8:17
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    A week? A month! At least!! – Lightness Races with Monica Apr 24 at 9:58
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IM and walking to their desk (if collocated) tend to be more immediate methods. Many of us try to steer clear of emailing followed directly by more methods but given the time constraint you have a reason.

"Sorry to pester you over multiple methods, but this is very time-sensitive..."

Work with your boss and or theirs, probably bypassing slower methods if it truly is today you need this out. Briefly lay out to them that this is time sensitive and apologize for the urgency. It may raise questions of why are we only now hearing of this. Whether the opportunity just came up or it was someone's fault, try to save that conversation for tomorrow. The key focus for everyone's sake is to not let this opportunity slide by whilst they bicker over what should have happened.

  • Followed up with them over a messenger and hoping for a response. Definitely thinking this is a conversation to flag for the future in terms of workflow and capacity. Thank you! – user103002 Apr 23 at 20:12

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