There is something deeply gratifying (and motivational) about small, tangible achievements during long-term projects. Whether you are in a client service-based industry like consulting or advertising or if you are involved in a long-term pursuit to develop a new product, we can all benefit from internal short-term projects designed to produce something tangible. These microcosms of achievement provide us with interim rewards that help us maintain focus and momentum for the long term.
One firm that harnesses the rewarding power of tangible achievements is New York agency Brooklyn Brothers. At the same time as they act as a creative agency serving clients, they also produce Fat Pig Chocolate, PMS vitamins, and a series of children’s books. The team at Brooklyn Brothers believes that making a product lends invaluable insights into the life cycle of pushing a product to market. From these internal projects, the agency gains an understanding of the logistics behind developing, executing, and distributing a product, and that knowledge, in turn, gives them an edge on the client side.
And perhaps, in a world stuffed to the gills with digital and virtual products, there is a benefit to creating something tangible that can be held and felt - something entirely physical. At Behance, we were surprised by how much we learned through the process of creating our own line of paper products based on our organizational methodology, the Action Method. The product line forced us to simplify what we do with technology and knowledge. And it has served as a tangible, completed outcome that we can hold in our hands and consider as we undertake massive new projects with no end in sight.
Every team should venture to create something for themselves. If only as a refreshing team development exercise to experience what goes into the pursuit of making ideas happen with full control. The completion of smaller projects provides a sense of reward and confidence that can help you push larger projects through the sometimes demoralizing project plateau. And you also never know if your internal project may shed light on a larger opportunity that you hadn’t anticipated. Many successful products such as Twitter and Gmail started out as unofficial side projects.
***This article is adapted from the research and writing of Scott Belsky and the Behance team. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network, the Action Method project management application, the Creative Jobs List, and develops knowledge, products, and services that help creative professionals make ideas happen.