"More information is always better than less. When people know the reason things are happening, even if it's bad news, they can adjust their expectations and react accordingly. Keeping people in the dark only serves to stir negative emotions." -Simon Sinek
“More information is always better than less. When people know the reason things are happening, even if it’s bad news, they can adjust their expectations and react accordingly. Keeping people in the dark only serves to stir negative emotions.” -Simon Sinek

Each stakeholder will have different expectations of the project and will define project success differently. It is your job as project manager to get everyone on the same page at the very beginning to ensure that all stakeholders have the same understanding of the project purpose, description, desired results, exclusions, communication needs, project constraints, and acceptance criteria.

  • Interview each key project stakeholder and document their responses in the following categories:
    • Project Purpose, key reason(s) for the project,
      • What prompted this research? Are there other reasons for this project?
      • Do you agree the project is worth doing?
    • Description, the how, what, and when of key deliverables,
      • What deliverables come to mind on this project?
      • Is there anything we have missed in terms of your expectations?
    • Desired Results, a prioritized list of specific and measurable deliverables,
      • How would you measure success? What specific outcomes would be achieved?
      • What would be the impact of achieving those outcomes?
    • Exclusions, items out of scope,
      • What should not do as a part of this project? What would you leave out?
      • Sounds like we want to avoid ________, ________, and _______; is that right?
    • Communication Needs, who and how often do people need an update,
      • What does good communication throughout the project look like to you?
      • How would you like to be communicated with, and by what means?
      • Is there anyone else who should receive status updates?
    • Acceptance Criteria, who needs to sign off on what, and how they will sign off permissions, and
      • How will we know if it is acceptable to move forward after each milestone?
      • Who needs to approve what along the way?
  • Identify all Project Constraints, a prioritized list of restrictions or limitations. Areas of possible constraint include:
    • Scope, the sum of the products, services, and results to be provided,
      • What products, services, or results are necessary to ensure project success?
    • Quality, the degree to which project characteristics fulfill requirements,
      • Please tell us how the client defines quality on this project?
    • Resources, people (individuals or teams), equipment, services, or supplies needed to fulfill requirements,
      • Can you tell us about resources you can contribute to the project—people, supplies, equipment, etc.? How can we tap into other resources if we need them?
    • Budget, the approved estimate for the project,
      • Please tell me a bit about the things you considered when determining the budget?
    • Risk, an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has an effect (usually negative) on project results,
      • If you could think about those things that would cause project failure, what would they be?
      • What are the reasons you haven’t done this project before now?
    • Time, the deadline by which products, services, and results are to be delivered.
      • What deadlines are important as we undertake this project?
      • Who or what else will be impacted by these timing decisions?
  • Prioritize constraints for the project and identify the top three constraints to monitor.