Expectation Management

Expectation Management – seems such a simple thing, right? How wrong was I when I thought that this was probably the simplest concept in Management!!!

Again, if you consider a Project Development Life-cycle, Expectations tend to be problematic because of Assumptions.  The word ‘Assume’ has an interesting interpretation – you are making an ass of you and me if you assume anything 😀

Expectations arise from all quarters – Team, Customer, Senior Management – for a Project Manager. He/She needs to ensure that expectations are set properly and then managed continuously.

There is no need to reiterate that it is very important to inform the Senior Management about the progress on a project.

Similarly, keeping the team informed about their roles and responsibilities is a very important task for the Project Manager at the beginning of the project. This will ensure that the development team members know what is expected from them during the course of the project and remove any ambiguity of thought. This can also help at the time of appraisals, as a comparison can be made on what was expected from the developer and what was delivered on the project.

But, the most important expectation management needs to happen with the Customer. One of the challenges that Project Managers face in development projects, are when the Project Manager does not bother to inform the Customer on impending delays. When the Project Plan talks about a deliverable from the Project team to be delivered on the 20th of July, it does not make sense for the Project Manager to tell the Customer on the 19th. When the information is known to the Customer on 19th, hell breaks loose. Once the Project Manager is able to determine that the deliverables are not going to be ready, it makes sense for him/her to take the Customer into confidence and give him the bad news earlier. It is also very imperative that the information is shared electronically as well, once the discussion has been completed. This will safeguard the Project Manager in case the issues get messier later on.

Requirements is another area where the scope changes impact the cost and budget of a development project. It is better that the changes are documented whether they are identified as defects or changes. The discussions on whether payment will be done to the Vendor can happen at a later point of time, based on the documentation.

As you must have realized by now, most of these expectations are not documented anywhere in a normal project development. That is probably the reason why they blow up at a later point of time and make life miserable for the Project Manager. Hence, Expectation Management is very essential for the smooth execution of the project.

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2 Responses to “Expectation Management”

  1. Haresh Thakur Says:

    Essentially, the gap in meeting the expectations of all the Stakeholders (SHs) lead to dissatisfaction and is the root cause of the project objectives of not meeting the project objectives.
    Often, one realise that everyone on the same boat and hence knowing the importance of the expectations. Unless, you identify the SHs, you would not be in a position to correctly determine the expectations thereby leading to creation gaps at various levels and ultimately project failure.
    Of course, the mantra is Trust, Openess & Transperancy amongst the SHs..

  2. Collective Project Planning « My Thoughts on Technology, Management, … Says:

    […] the expectations at the beginning of the […]

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