PM Road Trip - Great Expectations

Great Expectations


PM Road Trip Journal


July 5 -  After a few days of driving out west and a couple of days of hiking, I've seen live views of what I had previously only seen on Google. I must say that I now know the meaning of the phrase "the picture doesn't do it justice".  I am completely overwhelmed by the size and beauty of the landscape.  The mountains and mesas are awe-inspiring.  My expectations have been far exceeded.

In contrast, I recall a few years ago when we went to Six Flags after visiting some larger, better managed parks.  We were so disappointed in the service and quality of the product.  However, the following summer when we went back to Six Flags, we had put the comparison parks in perspective (including the phenomenal cost difference) and had a wonderful day.  Our expectations that time, with the same experience, were exceeded.

So, I'm thinking about project expectations and the difference between setting and managing expectations.  Several years ago, working on a project for a government client, we were struggling to produce the desired outcome for the customer.  My manager at the time encouraged me not to worry about it; that he was very good at managing the client's expectations.  But we found that the power of their previously set expectations were a tremendous challenge to overcome.  How can we be better project stewards and really sit down with our customers and set their expectations to a realistic level so that when we deliver, it will be well within their desired range, and perhaps even above it?  It takes a lot of courage to tell customers that expecting a Disney experience from on a Six Flags budget isn't going to produce desired results.  

But, if we're willing to drive many hours and trek up the mountain, the view can be better than imagined.  As I said earlier, the picture doesn't do it justice, but seeing this view of the Colorado National Monument in person can change your perspective on life.