Whenever a new project comes, managers set some expectation in their mind related to:
- Number of deliverables
- Timelines to complete each project activity
- Resource utilization
Having expectations is crucial, as they keep you focused and drive you towards project success. This fact is really worth your consideration because you would never hit the desired quality standards or meet deadlines if there are no expectations.
Let’s look at the example of Apollo 11 to understand that nothing is impossible if you follow your expectations with utmost dedication and the right resources.
“We choose to go to the moon.”
— Words by U.S. President John. F. Kennedy, in 1962 while addressing a large number of people at Rice Stadium in Texas.
At that time, many perceived this as an unrealistic expectation. But, in 1969, America created history as Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. left their footprints on the lunar regolith.
The Apollo program was successful because over 400,000 people had a belief in it. They worked tirelessly to record the greatest feat of all time.
If such a herculean task can be accomplished, especially in the 1960s, there is nothing wrong with having high hopes for your business projects. The current era is full of the required resources like avant-garde technology, educated workforce, etc. So, don’t hold yourself back while setting project expectations.
But if you need pro-tips to manage and meet project expectations, then I have them covered for you. Let’s dig deeper:
- 1 1. Learn What Your Clients Want Before Planning
- 2 2. Create Small Teams
- 3 3. Communicate With Your Project Team
- 4 4. Never Overpromise
- 5 5. Be Honest When Project Activities Go Haywire
- 6 6. Deploy Reliable Project Management Software
- 7 7. Be Prepared for Conflicts
- 8 8. Set Milestones Accurately
- 9 9. Develop a Satisfying Work Culture
- 10 Are You Ready to Meet Your Project Expectations?
- 11 FAQs
1. Learn What Your Clients Want Before Planning
‘Do you know which thing annoys most of the time while working on outsourced projects?’
A continuous request for changes!
It happens because project managers don’t discuss clients’ expectations thoroughly before beginning with the planning phase. Consequently, there will be a to-and-fro of emails regarding project changes, which, in turn, causes annoyance to both parties. It also brings a question over the project managers’ credibility and influences relationships with clients negatively.
Therefore, it is highly important for you to discuss what deliverables clients exactly want you to accomplish and then develop your plan around them. It would keep last-minute changes at bay and enable you to meet your project management expectations.
In case you feel that clients are expecting too much, discuss it right away, as finding common ground is the proactive way of avoiding time sinks and wastage of resources.
Here are a few tips you should keep in mind:
- List all tasks as per the given project requirements and share them with the client for the final approval
- Discuss small queries on the telephone if you want, but always drop an email for the major tasks. It would ensure that no argument takes place because of any confusion
- In case clients share inputs unexpectedly, see how they can fit in your project plan. Also, convey the new changes to project members so that they can shift their priorities accordingly
2. Create Small Teams
How well you execute each task decides what will happen to your project expectations, right?
To ensure each project activity gets completed on a positive note, it is important for you to create small teams out of your existing project team for proper task delegation.
Don’t take this lightly because every project is different in itself, so there is a possibility that you may have to carry out different activities at times. Here, if you divide project activities and distribute them to the right team members, it is very much possible that you receive quality results within the intended time.
Consider these tips to make task execution easier:
- Be sure about the strengths and weaknesses of project members and then delegate tasks accordingly
- Always explain job responsibilities thoroughly during team meetings
- Improve employee training programs by using a well-developed tool so that every project member executes tasks with a high precision
Read Also: Why Use Project Management Software for IT Teams?
3. Communicate With Your Project Team
The key to achieving results as per your project expectations is to ensure that everybody is on the same page. It means project managers, after discussing project requirements and expectations with stakeholders, should convey all the important information to their team so that they put their best foot forward during the execution stage.
Not communicating project-related information at the right time could make things tougher as there will be:
- Team conflicts
- Wastage of time and resources
- Too many change requests in the queue
Here are are a few ideas that will help you with improving internal communications:
- Create an open atmosphere where project members feel free to ask questions whenever they are confused, to avoid task delays or rework
- After every team meeting, share minutes of meeting via emails so that all discussed things get followed properly
- Deploy a reliable project management application that lets you initiate discussions with your team directly on its dashboard. It will enable everyone to avoid the hassle of messy email threads
Read Also: Why Is It Important to Have a Project Management Communication Plan in Place?
4. Never Overpromise
Addressing concerns like ‘How to manage expectations in a project’ with overpromise has always been a bad project management practice.
When you give your word on something like incentives, paid leaves, team lunch, or anything, then project members start having expectations from you and push themselves to their limits.
Taking U-turn after getting the job done not only shows you in a bad light but also shatters your team’s morale. This is not good as far as project expectations are concerned.
Bear in mind that the habit of doing overpromise will only yield problems, such as:
- Increases pressure (indirectly) on your team
- Makes a negative impact on your reputation
- Leads to conflicts
Here’s how you can raise the spirits of project members without doing overpromise:
- Give your positive feedback, as it is nothing less than a reward for those employees who give their best while working on project activities
- Talk to the finance department regarding the incentive program. After getting an affirmative response, announce monetary rewards for certain milestones
- Go through your project plan with a fine-toothed comb to ensure all tasks have realistic timelines. It will help your team proceed smoothly during the development cycle and also reduce the need for making promises
5. Be Honest When Project Activities Go Haywire
Projects are prone to risks, and the situation seems worse when mistakes like not taking follow-ups regarding task progress, not giving timely updates, etc. are made during the development process. With every mistake, the possibilities of attaining quality deliverables and meeting deadlines go down.
But the grave mistake that project managers sometimes make is keeping clients or higher-ups in the dark. The reason being is they think they would address all the mistakes and get the project back on track. However, this practice often causes more problems and results in project slippage.
That’s why it is very important to stay honest with upper management and clients regarding project performance. Besides representing you as a trustworthy project manager, it will help you when things go haywire.
Here’s what more you can do to develop a transparent work environment and meet project expectations.
- Stay polite and solution-oriented, so your team never hesitates to accept work-related mistakes
- Conduct meetings at regular intervals and discuss the progress your team has made with the project so far
- Share a comprehensive report with higher-ups and clients after accomplishing a milestone
Read Also: Why Is Project Management Important and Its Advantages
6. Deploy Reliable Project Management Software
Generally, concerns like ‘how to manage expectations’ surface when you don’t have the right tools at your disposal.
When you are not well equipped, you struggle to handle problems related to team management, change management, and task tracking. It not only makes a big dent in your project expectations but also drives you towards failure.
At present, feature-rich project management applications like ProProfs Project are in high demand because they put their users in the driving seat by facilitating project tracking, time tracking, team management, and task prioritization.
With the help of a reliable PM tool, risk mitigation also gets more manageable. Thus, it is highly advisable to deploy well-developed project management software.
In case you still have some doubts, watch this video for better understanding.
In case you don’t know how to choose an ideal project management application, these tips will help you make the right call:
- Look for those PM tools that offer a free trial. It will help you get the idea about the user interface and all key features
- Go through reviews on the internet to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each selected tool
- Compare the pricing plans and offered features against your business requirements to narrow down your list
7. Be Prepared for Conflicts
‘Do you know when it feels like meeting project expectations is an impossible task?’
When there is no harmony among project members!
Being a project manager, it’s your responsibility to handle personality differences, individual goal perspectives, and usual conflicts in the team. Don’t neglect the impact of conflicts and differences because they not only restrict you from meeting project expectations but also create problems while complying with SLAs (service level agreements).
If we jump into specifics, dependent tasks suffer the most because they don’t get proper attention while being executed. It results in poor quality deliverables and also increases the odds of project slippage.
A few more consequences you are likely to face due to team conflicts are:
- Poor internal communications
- A lack of new ideas
- Time sinks
- Ineffective collaborations
Increased workplace harassment cases
So, give your best shot while handling team conflicts. Here are some ideas that you could use :
- Stay unbiased and come up with a solution that goes well with all concerned individuals, so they could work together without holding a grudge
- Explain job roles and responsibilities before initiating the execution phase to offer clarity
- Set ground rules like an email should be dropped if there are two or more ideas on executing one task, raise a request for a personal meeting if there is some issue in working together, etc.
8. Set Milestones Accurately
Minor and major tasks have always been an inevitable part of projects. It’s very crucial for you to identify those tasks that can be set as milestones.
Having milestones in place is important because they act as a driving force for project members. They gain more confidence when they accomplish milestones one by one, which, in turn, keeps your project plan intact and helps to meet expectations.
Here are a few tips that would help you with milestone setting:
- Identify those tasks on which the whole project success depends and then set them as milestones along with proper deadlines
- Focus on the frequency of setting milestones. Labeling each task as a milestone would not make any difference
- Concentrate on your timing because placing milestones too close to each other could affect their importance
9. Develop a Satisfying Work Culture
Source: Global Solidarity Group
Developing a satisfying work culture has always been one of the best ways to enhance the quality of project deliverables. It brings many amazing benefits, such as:
- Increases job satisfaction
- Facilitates team collaboration
- Encourages your project team to take calculated risks
All these benefits signal towards an engaged workforce. It is nothing less than a blessing for project managers because happy employees always try to be more productive and meet expectations before the anticipated time.
Here are a few tips that would help you create a happy work environment:
- Conduct small fun activities (periodically) to wipe out boredom and take the work pressure off employees’ shoulders
- Take your team out for lunch at times and let them have fun around you. Friendliness always invites positivity in the work environment and helps you bring the best out of your team
- Organize light competitions when your team is working on repetitive tasks. You can even offer rewards like incentives, paid leaves, etc. for better participation
Seeking more ideas? Conduct a survey within your organization by using applications like Qualaroo to learn about your team’s expectations.
Are You Ready to Meet Your Project Expectations?
For project success, your expectations must be realistic. Moreover, you and your project team should be on the same page so that the development process doesn’t lose momentum at any point in time.
We’ve shared some surefire tips so that you can meet project expectations without facing much fuss. It would be great if you use a task management application because it helps you keep your projects on track and enables you to monitor whether your team is working in an expected way or not.
What are the expectations of a project manager?
The expectations of a project manager revolve around SLAs (service level agreements). The major expectations of project managers are:
- Ensuring high quality of deliverables
- Preventing time sinks
- Keeping project budget under control
- Utilizing resources aptly
- Mitigating risks
Is a project manager accountable or responsible?
Yes, a project manager is responsible for each performed activity, as they are supposed to lead teams in such a way that helps to meet SLAs. Top 3 responsibilities of a project manager are:
- Completing projects within the promised time
- Ensuring high-quality deliverables
- Keeping the project budget under control throughout the development process
What are some team expectations?
Expectations that project teams or any other have from their leaders are:
- Clarity related to each assignment
- Respect during the development process
- Feedback after each achieved milestone
- Honesty regarding promises
- Involvement at crucial stages of the project