Random musings, observations, squeaks, whimpers and perhaps the ocassional rant. About what, I'm not sure.

Friday, January 14, 2005

But what did you expect?

Excellent post in the Worthwhile Blog by Halley Suitt from Halley's Comment on under-promising and over-delivering. This is one flavor of a skill that is so simple to master in many ways, yet so ignored by many of the professionals I know. I'm glad she blogged it.

We so often set our clients' expectations, and far too many times don't even realize we're doing it. That's a mistake. And, expectations we set regarding schedules, deliverables, all sorts of work products are often just plain wrong - too optimistic in timeline, no slack for what I call the "shit happens factor". That's sloppy work. I'm guilty of it myself on occasion, but I work hard to avoid it.

To me, success in business rides right on top of not just meeting, but exceeding clients' expectations. Another tenet of success, and we certainly saw this in the consulting and software businesses, is understanding what your client NEEDS, which so very often is neither what they think nor say is what they want. Understanding the real problem, doing the front-end work with the client so they can understand it, and gaining enough of their trust to let you assist is all hard work. And it all slides down a slippery slope toward the crapper when you do a bad job of managing their expectations.

Like I wrote below, the quality of any product or service is exactly what the customer says it is. How do you think they form those impressions? Its not rocket science.


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