Project Management

11 Project Management Tips for Setting and Managing Expectations

Project Management: Only As Good As Your Expectations

Project management is only as effective as you are at managing expectations. But it’s a matter of simply assuming that you’ve clearly explained expectations, either. With scope creep, different expectations between clients, teams, and executive management, and general project confusion; setting expectations and maintaining them throughout the project is one of the most difficult elements to project management.

The 11 Tips For Setting Expectations

This article by Jennifer Lonoff Schiff from shares 11 tips concerning the setting and management of expectations. It includes:

  1. Getting involved early (during the planning process)
  2. Involving all stakeholders, especially IT
  3. Having a clear project scope with sign-off, and setting of priorities
  4. Being realistic
  5. Making sure everyone understands roles and responsibilities
  6. Assuring that team members communicate with each other
  7. Trying to identify potential pain points
  8. Setting up a calendar for milestones
  9. Having an escalation strategy
  10. Holding regular status meetings where everyone attends
  11. Not being afraid to communicate bad news and adjust expectations

Understanding Roles: Big And Small

The fifth point about everyone understanding their roles isn’t limited to your own team. Executive levels of management must also understand and agree to the roles that they play in every project. Without their support and involvement, your project is much more likely to encounter difficulties as it progresses. The author uses the insight of Eugene Slobodetsky to help illustrate the point:

Above all, make sure everyone has a good “understanding [of] goals, timelines, KPI's, etc.,” says Eugene Slobodetsky, project manager, Lyons Consulting Group. “Managing expectations is important, and in order to do that, there needs to be agreement across all parties on what the expectations are.” Ask yourself, “What are the goals of the engagement, the expected (and realistic) timelines and measures for success? Many times, the mistake is in not communicating these clearly, and having both sides 'singing to a different tune,'” he says.

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