School of Property, Construction & Project Management

PhD Candidate in Profile: Tom Blair


Research Topic: A model for assessing client expectations in project management

Research Abstract:

This research addresses one of the most commonly shared and critical areas of a project’s success, customer satisfaction and stakeholder management in project management. Through literature reviews as well as the author’s experience of over forty years as a project manager, architect and builder, it is recognised both academically and professionally that client expectations are essential to the delivery of a project that the client perceives as successful.

Yet there appears to be:

  • No model that utilises metrics for the visualisation of expectations;
  • No tool to measure and monitor expectations in a holistic and dynamic way;
  • A gap in both academic and professional bodies of knowledge in the area of measuring or benchmarking expectation.

The author, through research, shall build upon previous research and models to benchmark client expectations. In addition, metrics based upon the results shall test and apply a model originally developed by Sydney F. Love in 1988. In this this previously unpublished model, which Love called “Failed Expectations”. The adaption of this model shall be revised and updated with metrics and an algorithm, based upon the research with the objective of creating an active conceptual model that may be used by the project manager to continuously update, share and inform the client and project stakeholders of the gap in expectations.

Expectations are clearly an important component of measuring process success, as pointed out in PMBOK© (Institute 2013) this is a key to satisfying stakeholders. However, PMBOK© removed managing stakeholder expectations from the 5th edition, and one wonders why? As Klubeck (2011) expectations help you stay focused on what is important. With what appears to be a limited amount of study and solutions regarding expectations, this may be an area of significant importance to:

  • Anticipating expectations
  • The success of a project
  • Areas that need attention to avoid failed expectations

The implications this model can provide for a project manager, as well as the project team including and customer, may include:

  • A better predictor of project success from the perspective of the customer
  • Improved monitoring of meeting expectations
  • A dashboard alarm to draw attention to issues that impact expectations and project success before they reach a critical state
  • Use as a training tool in project management
  • Use as an integral part of the PMBOK© controls for stakeholder management

At this point the author is open to many iterations of discovery in the process of research and through this research other implications may well be discovered.

While the question will no doubt evolve as the research progresses through the early stages and new literature is reviewed, the general areas of interest is how a project manager’s expectations model based upon metrics can:

  • Increase project success
  • Better engage project stakeholders
  • Provide an active feedback model of expectations to a project manager and team

The resulting research questions are:

  1. What are the client expectations that need to be benchmarked, measured and monitored to improve project success?
  2. Of the client expectations, what are the most critical to the least critical for project success?
  3. Can a model using metrics be used to visualise client expectations to improve the management of expectations through the lifecycle of a project?

Through this journey of research these research questions will be tested, evaluated and revised.

Author: Tom Blair

Image: Tom Blair



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This entry was posted on February 1, 2016 by and tagged , , , , , .
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