Managing Expectations (英語) ペーパーバック – 1994/1/1
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People have expectations. Your clients, for example. Sometimes their expectations of you seem unreasonable. But sometimes your expectations of them seem just as unreasonable (in their eyes).
The problem is that these mismatched expectations can lead to misunderstandings, frayed nerves, and ruffled feathers. More seriously, they often lead to flawed systems, failed projects, and a drain on resources.
Yet how often do you openly acknowledge these differences in expectations and take steps to better manage them? And how often are you a victim of your own expectations of yourself?
Expectations are difficult to control and impossible to turn off. Naomi Karten offers concrete ways to manage them, and in the process, to dramatically improve the effectiveness of your services.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Expectations . . .
Guard Against Conflicting Messages
Use Jargon with Care
Identify Communication Preferences
Help Customers Describe Their Needs
Become an Information-Gathering Skeptic
Understand Your Customers' Context
Try the Solution On for Size
Set Uncertainty-Managing Service Standards
When Appropriate, Just Say Whoa
Build Win-Win Relationships
Formulate an Action Plan
The book consists of an introduction, then 12 chapters organized around the 12 guidelines of this book. The chapters are grouped into 3 categories: Communication, Information gathering, and policies and practices. The book ends with the "change chapter" which is called "action plan" which discusses how to take the guidelines and actually implement them.
The first part (communications) consists of four guidelines: Guard against conflicting messages, Use Jargon with Care, Identify communication practices, and listen persuasively. Personally I enjoyed this part of the book most, however, if you are interested in this part then I'd recommend to pick up Naomi's other book Communication Gaps and How to Close Them which covers sort-of the same but in more detail.
The second part (information gathering) consists of four guidelines: Help customers describe their needs, Become an information-gathering skeptic, Understand your customers' context, and Try the solution on for size. This part was more about requirements gathering and understanding what your customer actually wants. I enjoyed the focus on building prototypes and getting early interaction with the customers.
The last part (policies and practices) consists of: Clarify the customer perceptions, create service agreements, say Whoa, and build win-win relationships. These chapters seemed to focus more on IT support and creating formal service level agreements. I personally didn't like these chapters much, they focused a little too much on formalizing relationships.
The last chapter is the action plan chapter, which I didn't find interesting at all, but perhaps helps some readers adopting some of the (good) ideas from this book.
All in all, Managing Expectations is a decent book contains good advice. Most of it (as Naomi also points out) is common sense. When I read it, there were very little AHA! moments, neither did I end up with much notes from the book. Yet, I liked most of it and it contained interesting stories and examples. Because of that, I decided to rate it 3 stars. The book does what it should be doing, but it isn't a book that I'll be picking up frequently or will be commonly referring to people. A decent book, though I liked Naomi's later book (on communication gaps) more.
I'll keep looking for a more hands on approach.