Free Team Building Exercise: Expectation Management

Expectation Management is a simple activity that will help groups clarify expectations, set ground rules before starting work on a project together.

Before any team comes together to work in a project, expectations need to be set right. This is because everyone enters the team with their own set of values, beliefs, life experiences and attitude towards work.

By putting expectations all clear and on the table through this exercise, you can minimize unnecessary conflict and maximize productivity in your team.

You can read more about team building strategies: setting expectations here.


  • To set the standards of behaviors in the team
  • To create processes for handling differences in a team
  • To lay the ground rules clearly

Team Size:

6 – 15 participants. This depends on the size of your team. Generally, as the numbers grow larger, you need to facilitate discussion and get the quieter ones to speak up.

Materials Required:

Time Required:

30 – 45 minutes should be sufficient, depending on the size of the project and the complexity of the rules.


1. Explain to participants rationale behind expectation setting in a group. You can use my webpage for reference.

2. Typically there are four expectations to be set in every team, namely:

  • goals of the team,
  • decision making process,
  • conflict resolution
  • work division.

3. Using the Expectation Management Sheet, the group can move from item to item and work it out together as a team. Alternatively, if you find the group too big, you can break them down into smaller groups to do it first before discussing it as a whole group.

4. With regards to work division, I have created a simple Project Management sheet that you can use to clarify the job scope for every individual in the team as well.

5. When everyone is happy with the expectations of the team, get everyone to sign on the bottom of the Expectation Management sheet to show their agreement and commitment to what has been written. A copy of the Expectation Management sheet should be given to the participants to remind them of their mutual commitment.

Debriefing Notes:

1. Do you think the expectations that are set are reasonable?

2. Are you committed to meet these expectations you have set?

3. What do you think it would mean for your team for these expectations to be met?

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