Managing expectations is essential for making a project run smoothly. Much of this can seem like common sense on paper, but in a professional working environment you're likely to encounter frustrations. That's why we want to consider all the factors to help you get the job done, and minimize surprises along the way. Doing a few simple things will help ensure that everyone wants to have you on their team! 🙌
Manage expectations through clear communication
Two of the most important ways to ensure that a project is a success is through communication and collaboration. Whether you’re a freelancer, in-house designer, or work for a range of clients, you’ll need to adapt.
You may find yourself working with non-designers, so there will be moments when you may need to explain what something means or elaborate on the project. Whether you are working with designers or non-designers, consider defining vocabulary at the beginning of a project to ensure that everyone is one the same page.
Since different companies use different processes and tools, think about what conversations you can have to manage expectations and make sure everyone is working together. This way, team members, clients, and stakeholders will have the information they need to plan properly.
Working with clients
The larger a project gets, the more people will be involved, which means that there are more mindsets, opinions, and pieces to keep track of. This can include everything from contractual and budgetary restrictions, to coordinating across teams. You're not expected to have all the answers or to devise a perfect process, but knowing a general timeline will allow partners the ability to offer project feedback and participate at the appropriate times in the process.
Don't be afraid to help educate your clients or stakeholders on how to do seemingly simple things. You may find certain concepts easy to understand, but that's probably because you've spent a lot of time learning, studying, and practicing them. Don't assume it will be straightforward to others on the project.
You may want to create training documents or videos for things like how to fill out content forms, including image specifications, and a list of tips for giving design review feedback. Explaining why things need to be done a certain way can also help ensure things get done right the first time. Often people need reminders because everything doesn't sink in the first time. Reiterate key points or set calendar reminders to help keep everyone on track.
Managing expectations as you go will help improve the collaboration experience. By showing the client that you can build relationships, they will want to work with you again and again!
Manage a successful project
A lot of different factors play into the success of a project, which extend far beyond designing a great product or experience. We'll look at more ways you can help manage expectations throughout this course.
Clear communication and collaboration are key to a successful project.
Don't make assumptions; take the time to define what you're working on.
Asking questions is a great tool for making sure everyone is working towards the same goal.
Managing expectations will help a project run smoother for everyone involved.