Managing Scope and stakeholder Expectations
One of the project scooping that i knew very recently contained a very interesting phrase.The difference between disappointment and delight is not a maters of delivery but of how well delivery matches the client's expectations. Therefore controlling customer's expectation is one of the key success factors, especially once the project has left the planning stage behind and entered the execution phase.There are several reasons behind the necessity to limit the stakeholders expectations. First because no matters how good one is at capturing and documenting project scope, no matters how many times team has inspected and peer reviewed the project documents, there will always be omissions, mistakes and errors.Since nobody on the project team is perfect the customer should be psychologically ready to accept that certain imperfection will rear their heads as we progress through the execution stage.A straightforward communication of this simple fact should limit stakeholder's expectations in a healthy way.
People and the project customers in particular are not always logical.To make this clear we can consider a time in our life when we or our significant other has saved a coupon from a hotel or restaurant chain to obtain a significant discount at the said business only to discover upon arrival that the coupon was valid only at participating outlets.On one hand especially from a legal standpoint this situation is completely the customer's fault.After all, he or she was expected to read the entire documents and arrive at proper conclusions.On the other hand however did the chain do a particularly great job of managing customer's expectations?Probably not since it doesn't take an experienced psychologist to know that the vast majority of people have a short attention span when it comer to marketing media and trends to ignore the small font at the bottom or on the reverse side of the coupons.
So we should remember that being logically or even legally correct is not the same making the customers happy.Some of the project managers including the author of this article like to include a section to the project management documents to explicitly state the features that will be excluded from the project scope.