Pavel Nakonechnyy

How to manage expectations on a project

Published (updated: ) in Project Management.

How to manage expectations on a project

On a project, each stakeholder and project team member has a specific view of what’s going on. They differ in understanding what steps the team will perform, how long they will take, and what the results will be. Managing expectations is about establishing a common denominator that aligns with Project documentation and plans.

As a Project Manager, you should manage expectations to establish healthy relationships with colleagues, reduce confusion, empower yourself with concrete structure, enhance communication, and create accountability.

What can you do for proper expectation management?

A) Share accurate information and plans. You’ll send conflicting signals to the stakeholders without a properly made plan or incorrect information. Stakeholders will find out that you have little control over the project prompting them to intervene.

The intervention of project stakeholders is a messy process in which many stakeholders will try to enforce their vision and priorities over your initial plan causing even more disruption to the Project Execution.

B) Communicate with stakeholders regularly and team members to deliver expectations and project updates. It’s not a single-time activity as you have to update involved actors on new developments and changes of plans and remind them to reinforce your expectations.

C) Allow stakeholders and team members to influence the project within the allowed degree. You want stakeholders and team members to trust in your management skills. It’s impossible to achieve without cooperation and a sense of camaraderie. Align expectations with peoples’ abilities and skills.

D) Hold yourself and others accountable. Accountability is a deciding factor in establishing healthy, successful expectations and boundaries. Keeping yourself and others accountable encourages feedback on how to improve work. Consider asking questions and discussing solutions to meeting individual and group expectations in the future. Also, determine what factors played a role in any setbacks and create goals to ensure everyone can reach them.

E) Communicate with supervisors. Stakeholders and supervisors can be a great allies in providing constructive feedback on project execution. Communicating your needs and the team’s needs to the stakeholders helps them establish their expectations, which you can then align with your own.

Managing expectations is an essential part of a Project Manager’s role. Once you successfully manage the expectations of the stakeholders and team members, you can exceed them by applying other Project Management tools & techniques.

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