Recently I wrote how to deal with requirements in the process of a software development. Requirements are often customers expectations but those aren’t always the same. And not only your customers have expectations. In reality, every person included or interested in a software project has her/his own interests and expectations.
And even as a simple developer you often are supposed to meet the expectations of all these different groups. What’s even worse: each group may have its own viewpoint and agenda.

How to meet the expectations?

People tend to get frustrated or disappointed when they expectations aren’t met. The key to avoid this kind of situation is first to understand them. You need to know what others expectations are.
For example, when it comes to expecting certain performance and functionality from your product or service, you need to make sure you can deliver what was sold to your customers in appropriate time and with promised quality. The task or project usually has specific definition along with what success looks like in the end (for example “definition of done”). If you can’t define success, you’ll never meet expectations, much less exceed them.
When you have a full apprehension of what is expected from you, it’s much easier to address the matter.

Second, make sure to talk with the person having the expectations (like your manager or co-worker) so that you can describe your progress. Talk and readjust when needed so that your work continues to meet changing expectations.

Third, remember you can’t please everybody, but you often can reduce the negative impact of your “unexpected” actions. So if you think an expectation is unreasonable, communicate it.
Remember to explain why you find it unreasonable and what and when the other party can expect instead.
For example, make sure your manager gets why you can’t do particular feature in few days when it requires few weeks. Explain to another team member that the functionality he/she expects tomorrow isn’t your top priority (due to more important tasks) when you know he can do without it for another few days and that it will be delivered for example next Monday (don’t leave him or her waiting for an unknown time).

Last, remember to explain your expectation to others and to talk things over if something is not going to be your way.

We use the language of expectations in our everyday software development job. Expectations are unique to each individual’s perspective and meeting them is about delivering on your promise – to everyone including yourself. It’s delivering to your full potential as a team member. So do your best to understand others expectations and address them properly (whether you are able to meet them or not)

1 Comment

  1. Yeah, you are right. We cannot meet expectations of all the people. An important thing is to specify whose expectations should we consider first. I recommend a stakeholders mapping. This way you can manage it easier.


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