All individuals involved in the WIP need to be familiar with its goals, to enable the management of expectations. Developing a collaborative approach and involving the target group are important steps towards ensuring that realistic expectations are defined and internalised by all participants. Otherwise, there is the risk that expectations will be either too low – because they don’t understand what is going on, and therefore feel estranged – or too high – because they have impracticable hopes and ambitions. Continuous, close rapport with staff and target group participants, together with the continual monitoring of the WIP are crucial in managing expectations.

So, first,

Set your goals clearly, and communicate them adequately. Do not just assume other people interpret your communications correctly. It is good practice to always try and confirm what people have actually understood. You can do this by asking them if they have any doubts or by asking them to rephrase what you’ve said. Also, a participatory goal-setting process is not only empowering: it also increases greatly the chances that the goals are well understood by everyone. This, of course, makes goals more likely to be achieved.

Next,

Consider that trust and rapport are things that need continuous work. They are not to be taken for granted, even if they are present at any given moment. Keep close to the people in the WIP, get to know them, care about what they have to say

Finally,

Make sure the WIP’s monitoring system integrates more formal ways of checking back on people’s expectations if, and when, the programme is affected by any unexpected change. This can be done either through qualitative (e.g., interviews) or quantitative (e.g., surveys) methods.

The adequate management of expectations is directly linked with the programme’s success.