Behind every great project, there is a greater project manager. Keeping projects on track is a big challenge, and if you don’t set realistic expectations from the start – with senior management, the client or the team – and don’t have a strategy in place, deadlines can suffer.
So how can project managers ensure that everyone shares the same goals and expectations? We have put together a list of our top 5 suggestions on how to successfully set, manage and and adjust expectations to ensure deadlines are met and tempers don’t flare.
- Get involved early: Make sure you take the appropriate amount of time to work with senior management during the planning process to define key measurable objectives that everyone can agree on. That way if issues arise, the project manager can come back to these objectives and ask if the issue will impact delivering on them.
- Be realistic: From the start of the project, it is important to set realistic completion dates. Meeting deadlines and keeping projects on time and on budget requires commitment from all parties involved. Representatives from all areas of the project should be involved in the in the process of setting expectations and target completion dates.
- Make sure team members communicate with each other: Assumptions can kill your team, work and deadlines. Developing a communication plan is critical to the success of projects and work objectives.
- Hold regular meetings: Holding regular meetings throughout the project that are honest, open and inclusive, is important. Direct communication between all concerned parties is the best way to deliver a quality project.
- Communicate bad news and adjust expectations: If anything happens that will effect the deadline of your project, let all stakeholders know immediately. Nothing good ever comes from tying to hide a problem, always be clear and concise when communicating issues, and get to the point quickly.