Almost every failure in a project comes from miscommunication. Sometimes a change isn’t communicated right away and we deliver to a client incorrectly. Sometimes we don’t communicate what we’re working on and it turns out that multiple people are working on the same thing. Sometimes we don’t know what the other teammembers are expecting and it causes conflict. It really all leads down to one thing.. miscommunication leads to failure.
How can we combat this?
So given that everyone has different personalities and different ways of working.. how can we combat miscommunication? It really comes down to setting the expectations within a team. This can be applied to a work team or perhaps a project from school.
Setting expectations can be as simple as going member to member and seeing what they want out of the project and how they think we should get to the path. In this way, you can see what each member of the team is really going for and what the strengths and opportunities are within the team. With each thing that is shared, a potential risk can be uncovered and better planning can take place. This is why setting the expectations is so important, it allows teammembers to work better together and it also aligns every party that is involved on the same page so that there are no surprises.
Great, we set our expectations. Everything should be good to go till the end of the project right?
Don’t you wish things were like that? It’s great that you took the first step and you set the expectations with everyone. However, throughout the process, it’s necessary to revisit those expectations from time to time to make sure external factors haven’t influenced anything. Sometimes as a project goes on, people have a shift on what should be done and what needs to be covered. Having regular cadences and expectation conversations allow the team to course correct and not get caught in the dark when the dynamic changes. This is probably the best thing a team can do to make sure it keeps going at the same pace.
So how often should we set these expectations? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
This is really up to your team. Every project is going to be different and will require a different cadence schedule. The important thing is that your team develops the foundation and the framework so that you can continue moving forward. Always set the expectations on your team and you won’t ever get lost on a project.
I hope that this can be applied to many different situations. I’ve been exposed to different teams and have seen many projects breakdown because processes are not discussed, plans have not been implemented correctly and people change their minds way too much and don’t inform everyone. As long as the whole team knows what to do and what to expect, they can move together to the same vision and the same set of milestones.