No seriously, this is an answer that is given to many a software developer during their career. If you have not heard it yet, you will, if you have heard it, well, at some point you will hear it again.
What type of work is due yesterday?
Not easy work, really hard stuff, work that requires looking at different designs, potentially a number of marker board sessions and can include you trying one idea, failing and trying another. It is never a text change or some other simple quick change that can be done with little to no risk.
Regardless of the complexity, it is still due yesterday.
Who can do the work that is due yesterday?
Well, usually the risk is so high that your pool of resources become limited to those few software paratroopers that you can drop into the situation with little explanation (possibly because they live in the code), require minimal direction (because we aren’t really sure what is due yesterday) and are willing to put in the extra time to make sure the gap between yesterday and today is drastically closed.
How can the work be due yesterday?
Well, 9/10, it’s work that should of been done but just didn’t make the cut. That last refactoring, that last security loophole, that requirement that had to be pushed off until the last meeting with the final stakeholder who then told you it was a 1 over a 5? The How isn’t really about how you are going to solve the problem, but how it got to this stage. How did we miss this? Where did we mess up? You get the idea.
So, in summary, we want something complex, where only a few resources can work on that problem set, which in most cases is a result of a planning oversight that has now lead to the developer trying to build a time machine to actually ensure they hit their delivery window of yesterday.
Okay, now take the above and explain that to a banker who needs to re-balance today’s numbers yesterday, the marketer who needs to send out the campaign for today’s promotion launch yesterday, the lawyer who needs to file that injunction yesterday.
All not possible, but in the world of software development, where a keyboard and the will to build can make something magical appear, the demands for shipping something yesterday, will never cease to exist.