Expectations: Sources

October 1, 2009
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During the execution of your project you are expected to communicate and work with stakeholders to meet their expectations. You are expected to communicate effectively so that their expectations are met and can be influenced; issues resolved and their concerns addressed in general. Managing the expectations effectively will make sure that your project does not get disrupted because you failed to meet some expectations or some issues remained unresolved.

Stakeholder Expectations

Stakeholders expect to achieve project goals overall and expect to maintain commensurate goals during the project execution. There are several things that can happen which might change these perceptions. So as to avoid nasty surprises about the project performance, proactive notice of something becoming an issue keeps stakeholders aware of what to expect. When something really becomes an issue, it needs to be communicated well. The issues then can get discussed and have associated risks assessed. Several follow up needs to be done. Change requests, re-estimation of work, effect on time and cost budget etc. are details that’ll have to be conveyed to the stakeholders to temper their future expectation of the project performance. The issue discovered may have to be postponed or kept in abeyance for another project or have to be phased or may even be delegated to another group within the organization.

Understanding the project benefits and risks by stakeholders at all times is the best way of ensuring project success, as then the stakeholders understanding and involvement can be enlisted easily. They become active supporters of the project and help with risk assessment and choosing possible alternatives. You would need to study the stakeholder profile and the analysis/classifications made to ensure you understand how they react and take preventive measures for winning their supports.

Sources of Expectations

During the execution phase of a project the project performance reports and other documents used for information distribution process can raise expectation unless they report factual positions. It will be very easy to raise expectation by being optimistic in performance reports and variance analysis. Hoping that an issue would simply go away, even though you can see clearly that it is going to cause problems at a future time, is a sure formula for raising expectations. It gives a direct feel that there are no problems or issues arising from the execution of the project. Yet soon enough the issues ignored will create unavoidable consequences.

Issue logs and consequently change logs are potential sources of raising expectations. Issue logs need to have issues clearly stated, urgency and potential impacts defined so that everybody reaches the same understanding about the issues. Change logs similarly document the changes required and it should contain details of the impact of the changes in terms of time, cost and risk. Unless these logs communicate the true picture about the reality they can easily raise expectations.

Organizational process assets can influence the expectations management process by way of organizational communication requirements, issue management and change management processes and historical information about previous projects.

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