Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lessons from the Big Project

Tonight we'll launch the project that my team and I have been developing for two years now.  It began with research and an RFP in the summer of 2011, and will conclude with the launch of a brand new website this evening.  

While the process was long, the really hard work has been the work that has been conducted in the past nine months.  During that time, my team has experienced a birth, death (twice) outside of the ups and downs of a very complex, very high profile project.  

Something this grandiose does not come with a foregone conclusion of success.  In fact, companies in my space with multiples more of financial and human resources have done ostensibly the exact same project, and not as successfully.  But our little team and it's work ethic did the work just the same.  Remarkable.

Some learning points from the process:

  • Anytime there is a project this big, you'll see people at their absolute worst and best.  And you learn an awful lot about them that way
  • You also see the best and worst in yourself, and there is a lot to take away with that.  I have much that I've been milling over, and there will be much more to come
  • Once the strategy has been set, the work is all tactical at its best, and emergency fire fighting at its worst.  It is mentally and physically exhausting activity
  • It is extremely lonely at the top.  Satisfaction has to come from inside as there is nobody there cheer-leading your efforts.  Our senior team and ownership expect results, and don't have time to prop me up when I'm having a really tough day
  • Along with the above, my main job was to try and keep the wheels on the vehicle and keep it moving forward; all without letting my own challenges impact my team.  It was a very, very hard balancing act
While it was painful and not without its significant costs, it is something of which I'm quite proud. In reflecting on it, it's probably the biggest achievement of my career.  That's pretty cool.

But I'm still SO glad it's ending... 

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