Great Expectations

Great Expectations

A lesson I’ve learned through long – and often difficult – experience: great project management is actually great expectation management.

Over-promising and under-delivering are the ingredients for disatisfaction.

Similarly, not being transparent about the true state of work is also common among failed projects.

Setting expectations appropriately, and meeting those expectations once set, may not make every stakeholder 100% happy. But they will at least be informed, and rarely surprised.

Look – everyone knows good fences make good neighbors. Clearly spelled out project scopes are the virtual equivalents of good fences. And as I said in yesterday’s ‘cast, a solid look of success let’s everyone know what the successful conclusion of their project is, right from the start.


  • Clearly articulate what will be done on a project, by whom, and by what date,
  • Clearly specify what the successful completion of the project will look like, and
  • Set – and maintain – the appropriate expectations of what can, will, and won’t be done.

Before leaving this topic, let me just add this: until the last piece of a project is completed, the care and feeding of the expectations of your stakeholders should always be at the very top of your daily to-do lists.

Because in the absence of good information, your customers will create their own narratives, where you may not be the hero.

Control the narrative. Create Great Expectations.

Go, and be you.


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