“Under promise and over deliver”
Easier said than done. Most projects fail even after the team puts in a
lot of hard work. Many times the project success is not even dependent
on the amount of effort that is put into the project. If wrong or
unrealistic expectations are set, even the smartest teams can fail. The
#1 requirement to succeed in a project is to set the right expectations
for all parties involved.
Organizations are systems. Very rarely projects are executed in silos.
Every project is connected one or more other projects and a delay in
one project has a cascading effect and the impact is felt in more
places than you might have imagined. Understanding these relationships
is the foundation of Systems Thinking (Take a look at Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline
to learn more about this topic.) The more you understand Systems
thinking better you will be at setting expectations as you will be
aware of the overall impact of missing a deadline on your project.
Also, remember that expectations keep rising without your knowledge. My friends Michael Weissman and Dave Mosby of Fresh Perspectives
have authored a phenomenal book on this topic called Paradox of
Excellence in the form of a business fable. It’s a MUST read for anyone
who is engaged with a client in some form or fashion.