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Not least because of their habit of being “crunched”, timelines are often viewed by medical writers as something of a threat to their working lives and often also their quality of life. But with appropriate management and input from medical writers, document timelines are essential to the structure of a project and the efficiency with which it can be carried out, not only by medical writers but across the entire project team. This session dissects what lies behind medical writing timelines, exploring differences between useful and useless timelines and differences between useful and useless timeline metrics. It also examines some common attributes behind effective medical writing timelines, including what buy-in and commitment to timelines across an entire project team means for medical writing, and illustrates how medical writing is rarely the rate-limiting factor for document timelines.