3 Fundamentals for Managing Client Expectations

For knowledge managers, a thorough understanding of the discipline is only the beginning.  Skillful project management and thoughtful expectation management are the keys to success.

Focusing on managing the client’s expectations, there are three fundamentals necessary to a successful outcome:  LISTEN, STAY IN TOUCH, and DELIVER.


The most important thing a knowledge or information manager can do is to listen to the client.  Be absolutely sure, through questioning and clarifying, that you understand what your client needs or wants. Through questioning and clarification, you can focus on the problem the client wishes to solve, the features or benefits that are most highly valued, and the outcome that the client hopes to realize.

For example, if the client values a low cost solution, keep that in mind as alternatives are weighed.

Grounded in careful listening and thoughtful questioning, it becomes clear where the project should be going and what a satisfactory conclusion looks like.

Feel your client’s pain.


Throughout the project or process be sure to offer status reports or check in for clarification as needed.  Share bad news as soon as you have it.  Unexpected delays, unusual findings, or cost overruns are just a few of the things that can crop up.  Be prepared with solutions or alternatives to address the situation.

Proactive always beats reactive.


To the best of your abilities, deliver what you promised, when you promised, in the way that you promised.  The deliverables might have evolved based on Fundamental No. 2 – staying in touch. Nevertheless, your credibility is at stake.  Your goal is to deliver a professional outcome so that your client’s problem is solved, questions are answered, or a way forward is clear.

Your reputation depends on it.


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Landing a Project … Then Nailing it: How to Win Assignments and Deliver Quality Results Every Time

April 7 –  Pittsburgh PA

Back by popular demand and open to all, this interactive, dynamic session follows a framework based on project phasing and client interactions. Since the facilitators lead a discussion based on participants’ experience and challenges, everyone comes away with insights specific to their situation.