“It’s All About M.E.!”

By Lakecia Carter, PMP

In Project Management, it’s all about M.E.! It doesn’t mean that PMs self-centered. M.E. stands for Managing Expectations. I am convinced that managing expectations is 80% my job as a PM.  When I start a new project, it’s a challenge to know exactly what stakeholders expect from me and the project.  Once the project is up and running, it’s an even greater challenge to manage those expectations.

I find that most expectations fall into two categories: Unspoken or Unrealistic. Unspoken expectations are often left that way because we are prone to make assumptions.  Sometimes I am guilty of this because I feel I “should know” so I don’t muster up the courage to ask the question.  Unrealistic expectations often catch me by surprise, but are all too common in our field. I believe this happens when people don’t know or fully understand what’s going on.  In some rare cases, people don’t care they just want what they want.

Whether it’s an unspoken or unrealistic expectation, there are 3 basic ways to manage through them:

1. Ask questions. Seek complete understanding and clarity in everything you do. Never leave a conversation or meeting unclear about what’s expected.

2. Communicate early and often. Stay in tune with your stakeholders Use every opportunity to educate and inform them along the way.

3. Always follow-up in writing. Following up with written confirmation of what’s been decided upon or agreed to is a great way to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Remember, expectations can change depending on unforeseen circumstances or changes along the course of the project. No matter what, you’ll be successful in your projects if you have an “all about M.E.” mindset.

What about you? Please share ways that you manage expectations on your projects!

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