Seven Master Principles of Expectation Management

Now that we have a good feel for the breadth of managing expectations, you can likely see the value of many of key project planning and project control fundamentals we reviewed in prior chapters. Before we do a quick capsulation of those items and then delve into two other powerful tools for managing expectationsrequirements management and kickoff meetingslet's look at the seven master principles that drive all expectation management activity:

  1. Get buy-in Whether it's the critical success criteria, resource and time commitments, or individual work assignments, invest the time and energy to gain their trust and to make sure you have genuine buy-in from the affected parties. This is why effective planning is a must.
  2. Take care of business This is the "blocking and tackling" fundamentals of project management. Set your baselines, manage to them, and properly handle and communicate any variances.
  3. Communicate the "big picture" With the end goal in mind, clearly sell the vision on where the project is going, what the targeted solution will be like, and why each work assignment is important. People want to know "why" and understand the importance of their role.

    Most of the principles depend greatly on the effectiveness of your communication and interpersonal skills. Your ability to manage the perceptions of each individual associated with the project is the key to managing expectations.

  4. Listen and be alert If stakeholders are not "on the same page" or have "unstated expectations," there are always cues and signals. Look and listen for them and make it a priority to deal with them quickly. When we discuss managing requirements, probing for unstated expectations will be a key focus.
  5. Take their perspective We discussed this in our leadership chapter (Chapter 16), but its importance is worth re-emphasizing. This ability is a mainstay for effective expectation management, and it will empower you to anticipate the needs and concerns of your project stakeholders. It will also drive a "flexible" mindset that allows you to adapt approaches, plans, and specifications to best meet the situation at hand.
  6. Never assume A key principle that needs constant attention. Many don't realize the assumptions that are working under until it is too late. To help you avoid assumptions, keep the following in mind:

    • Err on the side of over-communication
    • Always set context for all of your communications
    • Constantly confirm understanding
    • Clearly communicate what is expected from each team member
    • Continuously reset expectations
    • Verify that you have the correct solution to meet the project's objectives (rather than just validating documented requirements)
  7. Understand priorities There are always many stakeholders, often with their own distinct views of the world and sets of priorities. While you always aim to find compromises that will appeal to entire group, it is important to understand the decision-making process and whose voices have greater influence and priority. In particular, always be very clear on who controls the budget for your project.

Part i. Project Management Jumpstart

Project Management Overview

The Project Manager

Essential Elements for any Successful Project

Part ii. Project Planning

Defining a Project

Planning a Project

Developing the Work Breakdown Structure

Estimating the Work

Developing the Project Schedule

Determining the Project Budget

Part iii. Project Control

Controlling a Project

Managing Project Changes

Managing Project Deliverables

Managing Project Issues

Managing Project Risks

Managing Project Quality

Part iv. Project Execution

Leading a Project

Managing Project Communications

Managing Expectations

Keys to Better Project Team Performance

Managing Differences

Managing Vendors

Ending a Project

Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
ISBN: 078973821X
Year: 2006
Pages: 169 © 2008-2020.
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