Expectations of Contractors and Engineers

Expectations of Contractors and Engineers

Written by Steven G. Lauck & Jon M. Quigley

To ensure the team is working from the same set of expectations, we may develop a document or set of documents that describe those expectations. The work below may help you set up your own documentation on the expectations you have of your team and reciprocally what they will have of you.

The file below is found as a download here.

I. Focus Areas

Customer/Supplier Orientation

Understand who your customers are and how well your products and services are meeting their needs. Adopt the posture of evaluating the quality and value of your services periodically as a basis for continual improvement.


Be a master of the position functions and establish yourself as a resource to others. Know what your products and services are and strive to be best in delivering them.  Epitomize continuous learning and bring that to your work life.


Support our organization, mission and goals.

Working Hours

Be here at the appointed time. The basic expectation is to work a full work week. Although normal quitting time is defined, do not be a “clock watcher”, i.e. leave right in the middle of some important work.  If there is flexible start and end time, be sure to give the requisite amount of time and effort.

Vacation Planning

Let me know your vacation plans as early as possible to plan for potential conflicts and develop contingency plans.

Time Scheduling

Plan your own time. Keep a calendar where you keep track of where you need to be and when. Time is an engineer/manager’s most valuable resource.


Give me feedback, positive or negative, on my work style as you see it. Expect to receive the same on yours.  Feedback should be clear and focused on the situation and events not a personal attack. This should be delivered and received in a congenial way


Express your needs on personal items related to work on a timely basis to allow for contingency planning. When these needs must be checked or approved by others, time is required to obtain an answer.


Develop and foster a positive attitude toward the Company, job and others, whether in our organization (i.e. Engineering) or in others (i.e. Manufacturing, vendors, etc.).  If something has happened that has had an impact on your attitude and motivation, do not sit on it, express this as dispassionately as possible.  Express any impact on your attitude to me.

Class ism

Be intolerant of racism, sexism and classism. It is counterproductive to getting the job done and offensive to the world at large.  However, it is likewise offensive to treat the work place like a social justice event. Treat everybody fairly and equally.


It is expected that you comply with practices established at our sites. This applies also for special or temporary practices established for a certain project.  Safety also includes giving room for team mates to say and try work related things out in the open with no ridicule or scorn.


Professional ethics, intellectual honesty and personal honesty are a must.  Do not cover up situations or outcomes from an event for fear that it will do you harm at the organization’s and team’s expense.

II. Communication

System Approach

Look at the entirety of the work as a system and be able to communicate clearly with those immediate connections to your portion of the system. Develop a rapport and an understanding of the expectations and needs of the exchanges between these parts of the system, but don’t limit it to just that. Consider as far reaching how the organization as a system works and work to understand that as much as possible.

Weekly Meetings

Come prepared with an agreed upon agenda. Be prepared to discuss job details (bring parts, data, sketches, suggest a tour, etc.). Be able to describe any limits or impediments to the desired outcome by describing the actual expected outcome ascertained from metrics – no data manipulation to make things look good.  Be prepared to cover each item on your work list with the latest status, barriers, etc. If you cannot make the selected time, reschedule with as much notice in advance as possible.

If the client doesn’t plan a weekly meeting, take the initiative to suggest a weekly meeting for the two of you, or a team weekly meeting. This meeting should not be longer than one hour, most times less.


Keep me informed. Give me copies of letters, notes, sketches, data, etc.- Give me verbal updates on status of projects often, where practical we will have daily short stand up meetings for a few minutes to review these things as a team.

Open Door Policy

Feel free to come and talk to me often, even after hours if that is your need.


Keep our partner groups in Manufacturing, Purchasing and others informed as well as other Engineering departments and teams.  This need not be formalized communications in all instances.

Written Communication

Outside world communication is a necessity with far flung operations- become an expert at written communication, for it forces you to be more precise than you might be orally. The discipline and the thinking you are forced to impose on yourself as you identify and deal with the status and trouble spots, are of great value.

III. Job

  1. Let me know of any significant barriers that are preventing you from example, doing your job right.
  2. Develop a problem-solving approach and use it regularly.as well as the general discipline of thought for this work.
  3. Prior to involving me in a problem area, strive to have developed a clear problem statement with supporting data.
  4. As part of your decision-making process, develop options and a recommendation prior to involving others or me.
  5. Always have an orderly, thought out process or plan, which is shared with and brought into by the parties involved, innovate and take risks, but understand and manage the risks. Share perceived risks and assumptions up front with me or other affected parties
  6. In your area of responsibility, become an expert. Includes understanding how the inputs to you are generated, and how your output is used.
  7. Be a leader in identifying and exploiting opportunities to move the project forward.
  8. Be aware of upcoming projects and developments. Proactively examine and deal with interface or conflict areas.
  9. Use the principle of cabinet government. If you have agreed with me or someone else to do something, support that position to the outside world. If you do not agree with the position, work to change it with the person or group who made it. If you cannot change it, accept it and live with it.
  10. Do not accept my input on something as a directive if you do not agree with it. I may not have all the facts and may not have considered the full range of options. Do not use “but that’s what you told me to do” as an excuse.
  11. Check to see if something is an input or directive. If you are not sure what I mean, ask.
  12. Obtain my concurrence before communicating decisions which:
    • You perceive to be potentially controversial and will likely escalate.
    • Result in purchasing equipment which has never been proven in our operations.
    • Commits our group to significantly more work.
  13. Have an inner sense of urgency to do the job well and get things accomplished.
  14. Maintain the “big picture” view. Show commitment to the entire organization.
  15. Maintain a balance between short and long-term needs.
  16. Become a good information gatherer to establish a “base of information” Your ability to gather information and access it, is the basis for all other managerial work.
  17. Develop expertise in managing others to maximize results.
  18. Become proficient at using computers to help you do analysis and evaluation tasks.
  19. Use the hierarchy, including me, effectively by:
    • Obtaining their participation at the concept and definition stages where input may be helpful and beneficial rather than disruptive.
    • Identify barriers which prevent you or the team from accomplishing important goals in a timely manner.
  20. Use hierarchy output without feeling threatened of losing ownership for decision-making and results.
  21. Personal continual improvement in the areas of management, leadership and technical skills is both encouraged and required.
  22. Always know what value you add to the organization and why you are here.
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