Why Managing Expectations is Critical

Establishing a common understanding of what a software system should do is not an easy task. The requirements for most software projects are incomplete or inconsistent because the customers have little experience in expressing what they want or they don’t know what they want until they see it. Even, what they want and what they need is sometimes different.

Anyway, the customers are the people who will decide whether the software system met their expectations.

Expectations are deeper and broader than requirements: expectations have an emotional component. They represent our client’s vision or mental image of a future state or action.

We have to minimize the gap between the expected value and the perceived value.

In our client’s mind, satisfaction is how close we have come to their expectations.

Setting expectations is critically important. Set them too high and we’ll likely disappoint our customers, even if we deliver as specified. Therefore, managing their expectations will determine the success of the project.

Summing-up: working with our clients to set realistic expectations and manage their expectations is essential for longlasting relationships. We have to be honest about projects, timeframes, challenges and fair to ourselves and our organization. Client satisfaction is best enhanced by straight talk and clear expectation management.

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