You expect it to be done ‘on time and looking great.’ Oh, and no hiccups along the way please.
It would be great if this were the only direction we need to give when assigning a project, but it’s a whisper in a wind tunnel when it comes to setting the kind of expectations that ACTUALLY get you what you want.
If expectations can be set in these three core areas, respect is elevated and deadlines are achieved.
It’s important to establish more than just when you want it done, launched, and tweeted to the world. Define what the critical milestone checkpoints are and what work you expect to see by each point.
Although time can be made up if a milestone isn’t hit exactly on date, these checkpoints will tell you and your team if you’re ultimately on track or need to adjust launch dates and communication schedules. Breaking down big projects in this way will keep your team hyper-focused on exactly the right step – every step of the way.
Who is the final decision maker? Your team needs to know who they need to get final, ‘this is ok to go’, sign-off from on key project deliverables. And don’t forget to note what those key deliverables are!).
Just as important, they need to know what they can make decisions on without getting sign-off. Let’s face it, if you have to hold their hand like a preschooler on the first day of school, then they shouldn’t be executing projects for you.
Bottom-line. Nothing bogs down a project faster than having to go through a chain of sign-offs and approvals, especially when it is to satisfy egos or micromanage. Look at where you can empower people to make decisions to keep the project flowing well and let them run!
How do you want the team, including vendors and contractors, to communicate with you and on what schedule. Do you need daily, weekly or milestone based updates? Do you want those updates via email, posted in a shared project management system, or would you prefer to have a team call or meeting? How will your team stay updated with each others projects or milestones where deliverables cross staff or department roles?
Establish your communication expectations in advance and then share them clearly with your team or vendors start your project off on the right note AND keep dialog flowing harmoniously.
If at a minimum you can establish clear expectations for project timelines, decision making, and communication from the start, your team will be far more likely to achieve your goals in the time you need. Your team will respect your leadership knowing that you have respected their need for solid baseline information so they can do their job well.
How do you set expectations from the start to keep your team projects running smooth?