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"Managing the expectations of the expanded project team is vital for the success of a project. A difference in expectations needs to be identified early and corrected; otherwise, the longer the project goes on, the more difficult it becomes to close the gap. A large expectations gap means that the project cannot succeed according to the metrics established by different members of the project team."

Common Problems

"The table below identifies some of the common problems within the expectations category, key considerations, and some suggested questions that can be included in your assessment questionnaire."
Problem Description
Suggested Questions
Too high
High expectations will be met with strong emotions - exuberance or reluctance in the short term. Because high expectations are difficult to meet, chances are great that the project cannot succeed.
How do I know that the project is successful? Who is going to accept/reject the project results? What are their expectations? Have the expectations been written down and approved?
These are worse than high expectations. Whereas high expectations may be met some of the time, unrealistic expectations can never be met. Unrealistic expectations will begin to cause destructive or avoidance behavior among team members who may not want to give up. Rescue managers need to identify unrealistic expectations before committing to the rescue plan. These expectations must become more realistic before the project can be salvaged.
What makes us think that we can meet the expectations of this project? What are the business drivers behind these expectations? Who is asking for these?
Improperly managed
The project manager and the executive sponsors need to manage each others' expectations throughout the project. Everyone on the project team should be responsible for communicating the right expectations and an accurate status so that expectations can be correctly managed at all times.
How are problems or changes accommodated in the project plan? When are the stakeholders and sponsors told about changes in deliverables? Have expectation changes been communicated in the past? What happened?
When expectations have not been established at all, there is a strong likelihood that the requirements for the business case for the project are suspect.
Which expectations have not been clarified?
Too complicated
Expectations that require multiple deliverables can be difficult to attain completely. Look for ways to prioritize the deliverables. Distinguish between key project expectations for the business versus the nice-to-have ones.
How do I know that the project is successful?

The above is an excerpt from a book written by Sanjiv Purba and Joseph Zucchero, published by McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2100 Powell Street, 10th Floor, Emeryville, California 94608 U.S.A. Sanjiv has over 20 years of experience managing large projects and many years engaged in rescuing ailing projects.