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Expectation Setting

Managing expectations in PPI collaborations

Everybody comes into a collaboration with some kind of expectations. How can you help prevent one partner expecting more than another partner can offer? The key to smooth collaboration is in managing expectations.

Poor communications and poor expectation management are some of the top reasons collaborations fail. It is much easier to manage a project when everyone is on the same page. 

One of the key ways to help manage expectations to engage the whole project team early and co-plan the collaboration. Clearly and transparent communication early on, while setting the goals, objectives, scope and expectations can lead to smoother running of the remaining phases of the project.

The expectations can be outlined in a terms of reference document that is clear on what is and what is not expected from all partners, and from the project as a whole.

We have developed a terms of reference template that can be adapted by research project collaborators to help set the expectations of all involved. 

We recommend that you use the template as a starting point for each collaboration. In collaboration with PPI contributors, each research team can develop and adapt the format and content of the Terms of Reference according to needs and context. 

The terms may change as the project progresses. We recommend including a revision schedule as part of the terms. Ultimately, the most important part of managing expectations is understanding them. A terms of reference can be a great way to be clear and transparent when communicating expectations and helping ensure the entire collaboration team are on the same page.

Contact PPI Ignite Network @ UCD

UCD Research, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 4009 | E: ppi@ucd.ie | Location Map(opens in a new window)