Product Innovation Trends

The Top 5 Frustrations of Project Managers and Tips on How to Avoid Them: Part 5 of 5

Emily Down | November 10, 2011

5. FRUSTRATION: Mismatched expectations.
A stakeholder thinks he is getting X, Y & Z and is actually getting X, A & B.It feels like a punch in the gut. You and your team put your blood, sweat and tears into delivering a project only to learn after the launch that the end users aren’t happy.
What the heck happened? How did we miss the mark? Where did the expectation gap come from?

TIP: Be proactive.

People have selective memories. We all remember what we want to hear. What stakeholders forget is the additional things they add along the way or the reprioritization of features as the scope evolves over time. The X becomes X+1, and the Y becomes Y+2 and soon Z is out and instead the priority shifted to A and B, but not everyone was clear on the trade-offs that were made because the decision was made over the phone from a late night call with the customer.

The intent was right, the team was being agile, but what was missing was the captured communication with the stakeholders documenting the requests, agreements and approvals by the appropriate stakeholders.

Next time, get buy-in on the priorities and capture the justification of what’s in and what’s out of a project, to ensure everyone has the same expectations.

Without adding a lot of unnecessary overhead, new tools offer the capability to capture the reviews, approvals and electronic signatures for scope changes as part of the natural workflow. That way everyone can feel confident they know the true plan and the team can feel good about delivering what’s promised. You deserve to have the launch event be a celebration not an interrogation of what went wrong.

Read part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or download full whitepaper here.