360 Playback: Improving Client Expectation Management

A well-known Bay Area UX consulting firm had a client management snag on one of their projects. During early design reviews, the client broadened his interpretation of the project goals, inadvertently adding scope creep and weakening project focus. To stay on track, the team would need to reset expectations. But the designers and account manager didn’t agree on the best way to redirect the client, and getting it wrong could jeopardize the relationship.

Using role-play, role-reversal and 360 peer analysis, we coached the project team to “perform” the scenario, using past experiences as the starting script. The whole room was able to see what was happening at each point of the client communication cycle, making the strengths and weaknesses of each exchange clearly visible. Team members were able to freeze the action, zoom in on details, give feedback, make new choices, tag each other out, and repeat the steps in rapid iteration.

In just over an hour, the team was able to evaluate and test out different approaches, attitudes and language variations real-time. This gave the team the perspective they needed to align viewpoints, agree on an approach, and fine-tune the message they would ultimately deliver to the client.