What brings about the biggest sense of disappointment in life? How do you measure success? When you think about it, both basically boil down to one thing: expectations. Do you feel elated even though you know that you have failed to meet a deadline, to accomplish a personal goal or to produce the results you desired? Are you thrilled because you met some guidelines written down in a contract even though your manager or client is irate? Not likely. Expectations can be your own as an individual or as a team member. They can come from an external source – a client, corporate, management, a partner or a contract. Your own performance and the actions (or lack thereof) of others can affect the outcome. In nearly all cases, the feeling of achievement or disappointment comes from surpassing or falling short of a set of expectations.
Often, prior to the start of an effort, there are discussions that center on requirements. What is to be accomplished? What are the parameters? Who will be involved? What are the time constraints? Failing to establish requirements essentially assures failure. Expectations are more comprehensive and far-reaching than mere requirements, and they will ultimately be the bar against which success or failure is measured. They include the basic requirements, but also how those requirements are weighted and perceived.
To manage expectations, you need to follow a few basic steps:
1) Ensure the expectations are realistic and feasible, taking into account the scope, resources, and time allowed
2) Communicate vigorously throughout the effort
a. Don´t assume everyone knows the logical next steps
b. Take any feedback as an opportunity to review expectations and see if you´re veering off course
3) Don´t overdo it. Follow steps 1 and 2, but know that things and people are not 100% predictable, so you will never have complete control of every possible outcome.
4) Enjoy whatever you´re doing
Try to follow these guidelines and you may experience some things you didn´t expect…..