The Project Paradigm: How To Choose Your Work In A World Of Abundance

In today’s world, we have an enormous amount of possible projects to choose from. To be successful, we need to develop new tools to navigate this huge set of choices. In this post I share a method I personally started to use – the project paradigm.

Just two generations ago, careers were very linear. You were trained to become a mechanic, a doctor or an engineer and sticked with that job for most of your life. Of course, there were adventurers who traveled to foreign countries, but they were few and far between. The world was nicely organized.

Today, things are slightly more chaotic. In project-world, changing projects have become the norm and lifelong jobs the exception. The exponential growth of technology has made the world flat. With that increased connectivity and productivity, we can virtually start anything we can dream of and build it in a very short time. Goodbye cog-and-wheel, hello changing places!

With this tremendous increase in opportunity, the ability to choose between projects becomes critically important. Our old compass – find a nice position in a trustworthy company, be loyal – is no guarantee to success today. I want to share with you one of the solutions I implement: the project paradigm. A set of simple, but fundamental, questions I ask myself before the start of each project.

Be aware: the paradigm is highly personal. When you read the questions below, please reflect whether you find them of critical personal importance. I try to undertake only projects for which I can answer a confident “Yes!” to all questions.

  1. Will I work with a great team? Do we share the same values, commitment and ultimate goal? Do we have awesome & complimentary skills?
  2. Does the project deliver true value to its customers? Does the project bring joy, pleasure, wisdom or excitement to people?
  3. Is the project’s outcome ridiculously ambitious and unreasonable? Do I need to take actions that I fear?
  4. Is the project scalable? Can we capture the value we deliver to our customers?
  5. Can customers participate in the project? If people care about the project, can I provide the tools for them to join and evangelize?
  6. Does the output fit with the person I want to be in life? Is the project’s story one I am proud to share?

Like every other experimental result, your paradigm needs to be calibrated. Think about a project that you truly loved, and assess whether it passes all questions of your project paradigm. If not, your set of questions may be incorrect or – important! – may have evolved over time.

I hope the method above is useful to you. If you have any thoughts or suggested changes, please share them with me. Also, if you use different tools to choose projects – or trust only on your gut – let me know also, I am keen to learn how others make their decisions.

Looking forward to hear your responses – please post them at the bottom of this article or email me.