Every Beholder involved in a project is running a test suite in their head. It has a set of expectations. For each sprint or deliverable of a project, they run the tests. Once it passes, the initiative is "done."
What usually happens when expectations aren't met?
- Projects fail
- Timelines are delayed
- Budgets are exceeded
- People are disappointed / upset / leave
Expectations are a huge source of pain.
Many projects don't take the time to manage future pain by managing expectations upfront.
The right ones.
The ones that measure success in no uncertain terms. And that can only be answered by the sponsor of the project.
When the Fellowship met with the Corporate Communications team, our Champion Beholders presented their expectations:
"We are using the enterprise CMS to post our news on the homepage. We want to redesign it. Everyone within the company will see it each time they open the Internet. We want our news to be front and center and we would like it to load quickly. We were told you could do that?"
They did not speak in terms of "technical value." High-level Beholders speak in terms of business or product value.
These value expectations can be adjusted based on what you know to be true.
For example, one challenge we had was the newsletter. They wanted a rich-text editor. We knew the CMS didn't support that and we had never made a custom editor before. So we posed it as a risk:
"We think we can make something work, but it might not be as full-featured. Is that okay?"
This can lead to new insights:
"Oh sure, all we really need is a way to copy and paste from Word. Sometimes it doesn't get formatted right in Outlook."
In the end, not only did we make a custom editor, we even added a preview function. Without asking, we never would have known that was a pain point.
You see: nothing else matters except what the Champions see from their perspective. If you can get them what they want, you can drop the mic.
Our discussions in those meetings were magical. We could see the entire world map, with all its fast travel destinations. We could clearly see what we were aiming at.
With your Bow of Value aimed at the right expectation, pull the string back, steady your hand, and breathe.
"Do you know Grubergrout? They asked me today about what I expect out of Project BLZB and I did a double-take." – Overheard in The Whizz Palace
On the piece of paper where you identified your Champion Beholder, place kissy lips 💋 next to the person you've been trying to please and place a target on the Champion 🎯.
You've already said hi to the Champion, now ask them a simple question:
"What would make <my current project> a huge success?"
List all the expectations you hear. Identify any pain points and bring this back to the team. See if there's a side quest to add more value.
Bonus: Meet with any other high-level Beholders to ask the same question. Compare expectations and bring up any mismatches.