What is a more positive word for "deadline" that has also comparable length as "deadline" (~8 characters) so it's easy to type (hence more likely to catch on)?
I'm a fan of positive reinforcement if I can be, and I think using the word "deadline" negatively reinforces the "due date" (though "due date" doesn't inspire any sense of hurry).
Personal Choice: "finish line" as in "When do we have to reach the finish line?". It sounds like a place that if I work real hard and fast get to it, there will be rewards there (and maybe snacks).
If that remains a top choice, I'll write that up as the answer, but I'd like to see other ideas.