It was a long wait. Weeks, no, months. Then, finally she won the long sought opportunity to work on a mega project. A project that not only was long in duration but also involved lots of people and stakeholders. What a challenge! And what a feat! So she thought.
She had worked on quite a few projects of virtually all sizes. The big ones stood out. For a number of reasons: the duration, the complexity, the team size, the fun and the rewards. No wonder she was excited when she won the new deal.
This was several weeks ago. Today, the world looked different. Motivation dropped significantly; the energy barrels were emptied, stress levels were constantly high. But why?! What happened? And why was this project different from the previous big projects?
The missing WOW factor
While there can be lots of possible answers, the main reason is that this new project lacked the WOW factor. Yes, it was a big project but without the wow. “Wow Projects’? Those are projects Tom Peters described as projects that add value, projects that matter, projects that make a difference, projects that leave a legacy. And those are projects that bring happiness into our daily work life. Both on the individual and team level.
Ingredients for a Wow project
A wow project is not created merely by its size or its complexity. Instead, there a few ingredients for a project to evolve into a wow project. Let’s have a look at these ingredients:
- There is a common MVP, i.e., motivation, vision and project objectives. Team members and stakeholders alike have a common understanding of the MVP of the project and they support it.
- Collaboration is being nurtured. For this to happen there are clear roles and accountabilities as well as collaboration rules that nourish true team work.
- Performance is being promoted. This means that the environment and the people empower people to perform and show their best. Performance and interim results are celebrated.
- As much as performance is promoted and appreciated, people know that mistakes and setbacks are inevitable. Indeed, making mistakes are welcome and encouraged as they can provide outstanding learning experiences. Not for learning by itself but toward a common goal, which brings us to the fifth factor, i.e.,
- ensuring results. However beautiful the strategy may be, occasionally you have to look at results. And they are delivered and celebrated on an ongoing basis and not just at the end of a project phase.
Necessary investments for a wow project
Knowing the ingredients for a wow project is one thing. But a wow project still does not fall from heaven. You have to help build it. You have to invest into this building exercise. And there are no guarantees.
You usually have at least two choices when you start or enter a project:
a) run, react and get busy. Do what’s necessary and what’s being told. Try to meet deadlines and keep you head down. Believe in the expertise of the others and hope for the best.
b) pause, reflect why you started the project in the first place, why you want to work on it. In other words, make sure that you and your team understand and live the factors for the evolution of a wow project. This takes time and effort. It cannot be done in between meetings, divided into smaller chunks spreaded over a period of weeks.
Is it hard? It can be. But it always starts with a first step
Coming back to the individual described in the first paragraph of this post. She realized that this project lacked the ingredients for a wow project. And this was the beginning to a better project. She was unhappy but didn’t want to accept it. Hence, she stood up, gathered like minded team mates around her, talked about her frustration, shared her motivation and vision. Together they changed the situation. At first, it was only their little sub teams. From there it spreaded for people noticed that not only their performance and results improved significanlty, team members were also happy, thrilled, excited and highly motivated – without spending endless hours in unproductive meetings, trying to beat deadlines. They were ahead of the game. And they still are.
What are you waiting for?! Start building your own wow moment. Today