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When things go really well it's most often because expectations were met to the satisfaction of the stakeholders. Failure is by definition about dissappointment which is about delivering below expectations. Hey, that's great! Because it makes us all potential winners. Even if you can't always be in control of all events you can always be in control of expectations. In fact:

It's all about Expectation Management.

Always. At every time. Whenever we set out to accomplish something we should always assess our degrees of freedom when it comes to expectations. Look at your plans and how you're communicating them and try the point of view of your stakeholder. What are you promising her, directly or indirectly? Can you deliver? Are you like 80% sure? Then it's probably better you arrange so that you're creating just that 80%-ish expectation and nothing else.

I work at Projectplace. It means I have every interest that people who run their projects using our tools succeed. That they are winners. In my own self interest I'll advice all of you to set up your projects so that when your participants join they can answer these two questions:

  1. What can I expect from this project? (Things like the project goal, time schedule, where to find information, etcetera.)
  2. What is expected of me in this project? (Meetings, assignments, who are my stakeholders, and so on and so forth.)

From there it's about making sure that the project members can answer those same questions at any given time during the execution of the project. And, of course, that they always have all they need to be able to fulfill what's expected of them. They should be assured they can expect that from you and the project.

Be extra careful examining the room you create for assumptions. Assumptions are dangerous.

  • If they are correct, make them explicit expectations.
  • If they are wrong, remove them.

From your clearly communicated expectations your stakeholders should understand not to assume anything from you.

I think it's safe to say that if we can manage expectation we can manage. Would you agree?

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