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Expectations Mismatch


Expectations mismatch refers to the all too common condition whereby the customer's expectations are different from those of the supplier and is one of the most common reasons for systems projects to falter. No matter which project or initiative is concerned, always ensure that expectations remain synchronised throughout the project.

The seeds for such mismatch are normally sown early on in the project, where the vendor presents a solution to the need as they perceive it, and the organisation believes that the vendor's system can meet their needs; such belief often being based upon the verbal assurances given by the vendor.

It is strongly recommended that, as negotiations are progressing, the organisation documents precisely what it expects each party to provide and, more importantly, what each is not expecting to do / provide.

Example : a major systems vendor contracted with a bank to deliver a new system where the vendor contracted to implement the system. The bank's management, and its project team, understood this to mean 'set up and configure the system, to enable us to use it' (in a live environment). The vendor refuted this, and suggested that implement meant to load up the software and test that it was working. Any required support for a 'migration to live operations' would be at additional cost....... The project faltered and nearly failed.

Expectations mismatch occurs most often where plans are inadequate with the consequence that, when the detail tasks are to be performed, one or both parties presume that it is the responsibility of the other party and each then 'points the finger' at the other party. Avoid this with a formal approach to project management.

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