Whenever you take on new projects or a new client, your initial conversations will set the tone for the rest of the relationship. When setting expectations, a lot of businesses are guilty of promising too much, at every level, from the project management apprentice to those that have been doing the job for a number of years, and this simply sets their team up for failure because they cannot deliver on what has been promised. So, with that in mind, read on to discover some tips on setting expectations within projects when taking on new clients that should help you avoid problems down the line.
Be selective about the projects you do take
The first step to take is to be selective with the new projects you do take on. This may not always be within your control but if you do have a say then ensure you state your opinion. Not all projects are good projects.
Make sure requirements are specified
The importance of this cannot be overlooked. Written requirements ensure there is a document that can be referred to whenever you and the client seem to be on a different page. It can be particularly useful when the client starts to request work that was not initially agreed upon.
Build contingencies into the project
Not only is it vital to have documented requirements, but you should build some contingencies into it as well. This will ensure that you are covered should the scope start to expand and you require some extra time or resources to complete the project. We all know that things rarely go to plan throughout a project lifecycle.
This is something that ties in with the requirements. You need to make sure that the exact scope of the project is understood and agreed. These boundaries do not have to be set in stone. They can be negotiated in the future, but they set a starting point with the client on which you can both move forward.
Make sure reporting methods are clear
Communication is critical in any project but more so on new projects with new clients. You need to let the client and stakeholders know when they are going to be notified of progress, and by what manner they are going to be notified. Silence is never golden when it comes to project management and good communication is one of the secrets of a productive project manager.
Keep conversation logs
It is imperative to keep a log of all of your conversations with the client. If you speak over the phone or via a video chat, you should make notes that are kept within your files. This will ensure you have something to refer to, as well as giving you the basis to go back to the client and ask questions if you are unsure about anything.
Consider these points when meeting or speaking with clients about new projects and you should get your working relationship off on the right foot.