I watched some interviews with Seth Godin this week as I was exercising. Two of the interviews were from somewhere 2016. At that time Seth regularly be asked the question “Would someone miss you if you weren’t there?”
The first time I took this question to be whether you had a community who cared around me. The second time I hear it, I realized that Seth was also talking about whether anyone would miss your business, or what your company delivers if it didn’t exist.
I think that this is an excellent question to also ask about the projects that we deliver. You have just completed a project: Would anyone miss it if you hadn’t done the project? When someone goes into work on Monday if your work on the project suddenly evaporated, would anyone care?
I can think of projects that I have spent half a year on that no-one noticed when it was complete, and no-one would notice if it disappeared. I also know that there are very impactful projects that I have completed in 2 weeks. People use the results every day to save hundreds of hours per year. If the results of these projects disappeared, significant time and effort would be spent doing what was automated.
Projects are different than your everyday operational work. A project is an investment in the future. A project is a chunk of work that you do for a limited time, to change something. When we deliver our projects we have to measure, and focus on, the value of the change into the future. Our goal isn’t just to finish the project, but have a lasting impact on the future.
When you plan your next project, plan what you will count to prove you are successful. If the project is healthy, what will change in the future and keep getting better? Make sure that if the results of your project disappeared, someone would notice. That’s how you know your project has made a lasting impact.