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3 Tips to Align Internal Project Expectations with Your Manager

Nicole Osterhout Agile Process Manager
#News & Culture
Published on August 31, 2018

Diagram's Nicole Osterhout shares 3 tips to help align internal project expectations and goals with your manager.

Recently, I found myself in a situation where I did not meet my manager’s expectations. At first, I was confused and frustrated thinking, “How could They be so off course?!” clearly it was thier issue and not mine. Once I retraced the steps of past conversations over the weeks prior, I realized how the expectations and goals between my manager and I differed. I put together 3 tips to help you align project expectations and goals, so you don’t end up in the same position.

Tip 1: Consider key milestones and goals throughout the project process.

Let me start by stating that I volunteered to take on the request to create process and procedural documentation. During a team meeting I was inspired to help my fellow Project Management team out and was excited to have a voice in shaping it to become an asset used company wide.

In all facets of business, without properly setting expectations, understanding any milestones/goals along the way with all parties involved is bound to be messy. Milestones are an effective way to make sure you are meeting goals and allows you to keep a pulse on the direction you are headed.

Tip 2: Gather feedback from your manager throughout the entire process instead of waiting until the end.

And so, it was time for me to rally the troops, pull as much data out of their brains as I could get. How hard could it be? After two sessions of brain-dumping, I felt pretty good on the intel I had received. I thought to myself, “The hard part is done, now time to breath!” In reflection, this is the moment in time where I should have had my first touch point with my manager to confirm the direction I was headed.

When working on collaboration documentation, it is important to be open to working in a format where you are getting feedback as you go rather than all at once at the end. At Diagram, our company has always encouraged collaboration. The ability to come to work every day and work with people who help you shine in your career is something that is not available everywhere. Sometimes it is easy to forget about the assets that are sitting just a desk away from you.

Tip 3: Have a team review process set up from the beginning.

It was now time to type up my copious number of notes, have our project management team perform a final review and then present it to my manager. Easy, right? So, what actually happened? Business kept running, client work was running at full speed and this internal item became a lesser priority. And I didn’t it push it forward.

The internal health of a company’s team members and making sure their needs are met is as important as client work. My process and procedure documentation, for example, would provide a solid knowledge base for current and incoming hires. So, ensuring that my documentation was completed would help the company internally while also providing guidance to managing client projects externally.

Reflecting back, it's easy to see the three steps that I could have improved upon to make this project more successful. When volunteering for a project, make sure to involve your manager from the beginning, map out key project milestones, and have a review process ready! Share below how you've aligned project expectations with your manager.