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Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme, Sixth Edition by Robert K. Wysocki

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Managing Client Expectations

Somehow clients always seem to expect more than project managers are prepared for or capable of delivering. I have seen this expectation gap manifest itself time and time again. I believe that it is more the result of a failure to communicate than it is anything else. This lack of communication starts at the beginning of a project and extends all the way to the end. The project manager assumes he or she knows what the client is asking for and the client assumes the project manager understands what they are asking for. In many cases that is simply not true and little is done to check the validity of either of those assumptions. That stops right here! I believe that miscommunication does not have to happen. The section “Conducting Conditions of Satisfaction” describes a tool that I have used successfully for many years. It is a tool that establishes a language of communication and understanding between the project manager and the client. Understand at the outset that the tool is easy to explain and understand, but demands constant attention if it is to make a difference.

Wants versus Needs

The root cause of many communications problems originates from disconnects between what the client says they want and what they really need. If the project manager doesn't pay attention that disconnect may not be very obvious. The disconnect may come about because the client is so swept up in a euphoria over the technology (for example, they may be enamored with what ...

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