Knowing how to manage expectations is essential for project managers especially when faced with constant project changes, scope creep and last minute requests.
In order to ensure that bosses and stakeholders are on the same page when it comes to goals and deadlines, the wise project manager needs to be able to manage and adjust expectations at the early stages of the project and as the need arises.
Here are some tips on how to do this.
Take part in the planning stage – Being involved in the early stages of the project planning gives project managers a significant advantage in having their side heard. Expectations for IT projects are typically set down by senior management with little regard for the details that will affect delivery dates.
By taking part in the process, a project manager can help define measurable objectives, raise potential issues and be aware of things that will guide the project management team in seeing the project through.
Get a clear scope of the project – Make sure you have a clear picture of what the project involves at the very beginning. This will have project managers make sure that scope creep is contained.
Make sure the project team has a list of the key focus of the plan. This list should be reviewed weekly and evaluated to determine the impact of any changes on aspects such as cost and schedule.
Involve all stakeholders – Make sure all the pertinent people or departments are involved in the planning. This way people who are going to be doing the work understand what the project is all about.
Ensure communication among team members – Develop a communication plan which covers the scope of the project, owners of each task, status updates and people to notify when issues come up.
Have a schedule of milestones – Keep the team up to date an on track by creating a calendar of what when certain tasks are due and what work has been completed.
Develop and escalation strategy – Work with management to set up a clear guidance on what issues need escalating and which ones don’t. Discuss with your team what and when issues need to be escalated and how to escalate them. This will provide team members the accountability and solve issues that they can at their level.