Project managers have a hard task in setting realistic expectations for a project because they all want it to be a success at the end. The following are a few ways in which the leader and his team can set realistic expectations for the project.
Involve all stakeholders in the planning stage
At the planning stage, the stakeholders need to be involved as well so that they clearly define what their expectations are. Involving the stakeholders ensures that the team members do not set unrealistic goals that cannot be managed. Once they know what the stakeholders expect, they can be able to set their own expectations within the scope of that of the stakeholders. This is the time to let everyone speak their mind because once the project gets going, it may be hard to change some things.
Communicating constantly with the team members during the project work will ensure that they know what is expected of them, thus set realistic goals to help them keep their focus throughout the project work. Lack of communication results to the team members making their own goals which in most cases are unrealistic because they are not aware of what they are expected to do. Keeping good communication with the clients enables the team working on a project to know of their expectations and then they will make realistic goals thereafter.
Set realistic timelines
Everyone wants to finish the project as soon as possible having achieved all the goals set out in the project plan. However, having unrealistic deadlines will only pressure the team and subsequently they will do a hurriedly and shoddy work. Therefore, timelines and deadlines should be set realistically so that the different teams working on the same project can set realistic expectations as well. This way, they will complete the project on time or even sooner and it will be a great success.
Keep track of the project
Tracking the project ensures that the leader sets out realistic expectation depending on how the work is progressing. This ensures that the team members know their small successes and failures while working for the project and they will set out to improve on the same.
The stakeholders may also remind the project manager of their expectations and the team members will adhere to these. They will set expectations for themselves in line with those of the manager and the stakeholders, and eventually they will have a successful project.
Identify potential risks and challenges
At the planning stage and as the project work progresses, identifying potential obstacles and risks will help in setting realistic expectations. The team members should know that problems will always arise and that they should solve them as soon as possible. In the planning stage, it will be easy to predict some of the problems that may arise in future and set countermeasures for them. This way, they will not expect the project to run smoothly and perfectly hence will set realistic expectations. In case a problem arises, they will know how to handle it without wasting too much time on it.