Initially wrote this back when Pokemon Go first came out.  They had major issues with their servers, and people were screaming.


Everyone has heard about the success of Pokemon Go in the last short while. They’ve also heard the disappointment about the server issues and delayed rollout to extra countries.

While the server issue is a technical management and future proofing issue, what I see as the largest failure here is expectation management and communication with their customers.

Managing expectations is something which happens at all levels from front Reception, to the CEO of a company. Over promising, and under delivering is one of the things which can kill trust in a company/department/person.

Allowing yourself room to manoeuvre when dealing with issues is critical. If I think that a job is going to take 10 hours, I’ll likely tell them 12 hours, and I’m hoping to get it done quicker. When I come in under 10, I look like a hero. When I hit 12 due to issues, I look good. When I’m at 15 hours and counting due to major issues, I’d look like a schmuck, except that once I hit 10 hours and knew I was going to have issues, I did the second part and communicated with the client. I let them know that I was delayed, why I was delayed, and what the plan is. Hopefully giving a rough time estimate, but certainly telling them when to expect an update.

The last part of this is almost the most important. Your contact then knows what time to expect an update, and can let their end know. They also don’t constantly bug you for updates thus delaying your work.

Had Niantic gotten information out to customers, “We’re having issues with the servers, We don’t know how long the delay will be, but we’ll give you a progress report in 12 hours.” They wouldn’t have had the people screaming that they did. (They’d still have upset customers, but not as many, nor as bad).

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