Failure to manage user expectations is one of the biggest risks to project success. Users who harbour unrealistic expectations are more likely to be dissatisfied with the project outcome and are less likely to take best advantage of it. Yet this is one risk factor that project managers can influence and minimize.
Researchers interviewed 12 project managers from the same industry sector. All were employees of a global IT and consulting company with more than 75,000 employees across almost 50 countries.
There are three key strategies to managing user expectations:
Involving the user
Managing user expectations is not complex, yet improves project outcomes. The researcher offers a variety of tactics for involving users, providing leadership and establishing trust.
In your experience, what are the most effective means of managing user expectations?
What examples can you give where expectation management or the lack of it has had a major effect on outcomes?
Have you seen cases where it pays to set expectations unrealistically low, or do you see this as undermining the project manager's credibility with the user.