One can find endless examples of projects. Tom Peters (2007) goes as far as claiming that all white collar work these days is and actually has to be project work. “And not just any project, no matter how droning, boring, and dull, but rather what … I come to call ‘Wow Projects’: projects that add value, projects that matter, projects that make a difference, projects that leave a legacy … ” (quote from “The Wow Project.” FastCompany, 2007. http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/24/wowproj.html).
As I am getting closer to the end of an interim management engagement these days I am asking myself if the past months fulfill the description of a “Wow” engagement. Luckily the answer is “yes!”
Throughout my career I was fortunate that most of the projects I worked on or managed, inside and outside of business, met these requirements. It was not the nature of the projects. It was the attitude of the whole team and its desire to create something special.
All of my wow projects started with a clear vision; clear enough to become emotional about it. We could see, smell, and feel the expected end results. This was a strong driver in our day-to-day activities. Other attributes of these projects were that collaboration was working: roles and responsibilities were defined, team members’ expectations articulated and accounted for, and all were reviewed regularly, adapting them where necessary. We nourished teamwork and the freedom to act for a common goal. Creating and nurturing an innovative learning environment, an atmosphere where feedback was sincere, honest, and constructive, was another success factor. It was about helping and learning from each other. Last but not least, the wow projects were about delivering results, not just the final deliverable. Instead, we set weekly goals to work on and deliver. This meant we always had a good sense of accomplishment. Project success became success for all of us.
Hence, while it is to early to tell where my next engagement will lead me, one thing is for sure, it will be another “Wow” project.
To learn more about what it takes to set-up, lead and manage a “Wow”-project and/or engagement, read my book “Leadership Principles for Project Success” (CRC Press, 2011) and/or contact me directly.