Managing Expectations

Managing Expectations

Managing Expectations Jonathan Poland

Managing expectations is the practice of communicating information to prevent gaps between stakeholder perceptions and business realities.

It is common for stakeholders to develop a set of assumptions that are out-of-touch with goals, strategies, decisions, projects, technologies, processes, and practices that have been officially adopted by an organization.

In many cases, assumptions are undocumented and under-communicated. In other cases, assumptions are documented at the beginning of an initiative but are later invalidated by officially accepted changes.

Inaccurate stakeholder assumptions can result in failures and perceptions of failure. As such, it is common for management to invest a great deal of effort in managing expectations by carefully documenting assumptions, constraints, requirements, and decisions.

Beyond documentation, adequate face-to-face communication is known to reduce invalid assumptions.

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