Discovering Stakeholder Expectations

George Spafford

My last article made the distinction between expectations and requirements. The fundamental issue is that sponsors and stakeholders expect certain things. The project team needs to discover, review and--where appropriate--document certain expectations as requirements. This article is going to focus on the discovery process and identify several methods by which expectations can be uncovered.

 

Sponsors

It all starts with the person, or persons, that bring the project team together. For the project to be properly framed, the sponsor needs to identify the goals. These help begin to create the context by which all other stakeholder expectations are judged.

 

To help break the ice and give the sponsor a way to convey his intent, consider asking a question that causes him to broadly communicate his vision. For example: “If the project concluded successfully last night, then what will the results be? Where do we stand? What would we see?”

 

Be sure to take notes during the meeting. Afterward, write your summary and ask the sponsor to formally confirm your understanding via a signed document or e-mail. You want to make sure that from the very start, you and the sponsor have a correct understanding of the project’s goals. The confirmed document should then be filed in your project’s work papers for future reference. Be sure to keep your versions of the document in order and file …


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"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. "

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