Last word: Setting expectations Basil Fawlty style
If you are a lover of ‘Fawlty Towers', you might remember Mrs Richards - arguably Basil's most difficult guest. No matter what Basil offered to do for her, it was never enough. Finally, he offered (among other things) to ‘Move Mt Everest six inches to the left'. I am sure if he had achieved this, she would have complained that it should have been moved seven inches. Basil's problem was that neither he nor Mrs Richards could agree on a reasonable outcome that would satisfy both of them.
Many IT managers face this very same problem. They work with business stakeholders on initiatives without agreement on what a successful outcome might be. Now at this stage most readers are saying, ‘that's not me - we have everything specified'. Well, specifications are one thing. The expectations people have deep in their hearts are something else again.