Current research has found that 70% of change initiatives, especially technology enabled projects, are deemed unsuccessful.
The primary reason for such disappointment is a failure to define success criteria at the start of projects. Without determining success criteria any future improvement from a change initiative is purely subjective and each stakeholder will have their own view of success.
Based on the same research only 30% of projects are deemed a success, of these, approximately half of the projects had the project objectives altered during the lifecycle of the project. Often this change is due to expectations, either perceived or actual, of the stakeholders changing during the lifecycle. An immense challenge if you are the programme manager and project manager.
I have found that a necessary practice to utilise is expectation management. By communicating effectively with key stakeholders at the outset of the project one can refine and establish their expectations.
Expectation management is a form of truthful disclosure, a method where all stakeholders get to define and understand realistic, and ideally specific, outcomes at the outset. Importantly these are documented and agreed by all.
By performing this, sometimes exhaustive, task the framework of expectations is established. Often what is captured is the psychological expectations of the stakeholders, these are the ones that often fail to be satisfied in those projects that were “deemed” a success.
Without managing their expectations the project will frequently underperform in the stakeholders perceptions, even with the same outcomes. Applying expectation management is a highly recommended technique, it can be very useful and provide benefits throughout the project lifecycle.
A useful technique I have employed in expectation management is establishing a Baseline Assessment. More on this later.