The Impossible Deadline – Managing Expectations

Greetings Leaders!

Many of you have been in the situation where C-level executives initiate a project with vague requirements, no resources and… a project end date. Executives are often the underlying cause of many failed projects. They have a vision, or an obligation to move the organization forward. After all, isn’t that their job? They aren’t getting paid to figure out how to execute their strategy. That’s your job. What inevitably happens? Well… look at Boeing’s Dreamliner as an example, a project that is constantly behind schedule and over budget. How can you avoid getting into this situation?

The answer. You can’t. Business is not based on reality. It is based on perceptions. As a project manager, you cannot win this battle. You are going to be late, and over budget. So, what can you do? If business is based on perceptions, you should manage the perceptions. If you can’t do this, expect to be blamed when the impossible project comes in late and over budget, even though it wasn’t your fault.

Let me ask you a question. If a project is late and over budget, can you as the project manager be successful? The answer… YES! If… you manage perceptions and expectations. Project Managers too often think they are supposed to only manage a process. Yes, that is important. However, it is much more important to manage perceptions and expectations. Project management is more about managing perceptions than reality.

Thoughts?

All the best!
All the time!
JT

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