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Setting user’s expectations from the outset is critical to success. Lots of projects run into difficulty because this simply doesn’t happen. Managing expectations is about being clear where the boundaries are. What the system will do. And what it won’t.
Expectations management is not just about “what” features will be available.
Communicating “when” they will be available is just as important.
Asking your users what functionality they expect in the new system can often reveal disconnects between the design team and the user community. This often highlights an optimistic user expectation that the new system will take care of every manual task you can think of – “automatically”.
If you are moving users from a well-established system to a brand new CRM, this is especially crucial since they will expect the new system to replicate the functionality of the old one as well as adding additional features.
If you don’t proactively manage user expectations, you risk the dreaded scope-creep which is deadly to project success.
I’m not going to say a lot about this step. It should be blindingly obvious but often seems to fall by the wayside. If users are going to take the CRM seriously, senior management should take an active role in supporting and contributing to the project and where possible using the system once it’s up and running.
I have seen many projects run into difficulty during testing and go-live because end users don’t get their hands on the system until very late in the project process.
It’s a mistake to let a small project team exclusively define all the requirements and shape the system during design and build without consulting the wider user community. Of course you can’t include all the users in every workshop throughout the project.
But the more time you spend giving end users early visibility of the system, the better. Coming back to my definition of success, it revolves around the users of the system.
In part 3 of this series, we will take a look at the following topics: