Successfully Managing Project Expectations: The Key to Project Success

Managing Project Expectations

Every person in service delivery should ask themselves – and all involved at the inception of a project – What is the definition of success for this project? It seems simple, but is infrequently done. Let us offer a simple definition of success that can apply to all projects – A successful project is when the team delivered what was required and in-line with expectations. The definition is light on specifics, but very clear.

The traditional definitions of success tend to be what people can measure. This is why ‘on-budget’, ‘on-time’ and to the ‘customer’s satisfaction’ tend to be the most common KPIs determining whether a project is successful or not. These KPIs are a single, measurable criteria for success. Going back to the simple definition above, success is about meeting everyone’s expectations. This introduces a much broader set of success criteria such as ‘easier to use’, ‘lowered admin time’ or ‘access to reporting data’. These success criteria are driven more by the stakeholder’s expectations of the project and it is these expectations that are informing their views of success.

We all want successful projects. Even with a good plan, a good team and a good client, projects can be viewed as failures or fall short due to missed or misaligned expectations. This white paper lists top five practices for successfully managing project expectations. As you review the list, we challenge you to assess how capable and mature you and your organization are at executing these practices.

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