A large project can make good people go deaf in the echo chamber, in many ways due to the sweat equity put into a project and the amount of attachment to the project most people can’t shake. Sometimes it temporary, other time’s it can derail entire careers. It’s human nature. In the services business, a bare necessity is to re-leverage your work and experience where possible. But where do you separate the valuable service offerings from a one-hit wonder, and how do see the difference?
The last big project often creates a fixed paradigm that all things future will fit the mold. Once you’re in the echo chamber, new opportunities take on similar characteristics. I can say this, because I’ve been there and have over time figured out some of the self-check warning signs of a one-hit wonder project:
1) The project took ‘all hands’ to deliver
2) Minor miracles and acts of God were instrumental in pulling it off
3) Majority of the work was custom
4) The customer dictated deliverables
5) The customer was ‘pleased’ with the work but can’t figure out what to do next
The problem is that the last big kill, may be a one off and if you try to repeat the experience, you run a good chance of alienating your customers and wasting a lot of time pushing the wrong solution to market. The good news is that you can sill harvest goodies from a one-hit wonder (like experience, intellectual property, consulting methods, lesson’s learned).