Thursday, September 8, 2011

How do you choose which projects to do? Ask Bruce Mau.

I work a full-time job and have four kids. That's plenty for normal people.

I also coach soccer, play bass, and teach Sunday school.  But still, any involved parent might do that.

I'm half of a street art project called Beautiful Angle. Lance Kagey and I create an original poster each month and hang it around Tacoma.

Then I do this book writing thing. One published. Two others written and being shopped. One more underway. And I blog and tweet as well.

But on top of all that, I'm still asked to get involved in other projects. And sometimes I say yes.

The best guideline I've found on whether or not to get involved in a new project comes from design guru Bruce Mau, one of my personal heroes and most common sources of rank plagiarism. So let me plagiarize Bruce again and share his Four P's, as reported in Fast Company Magazine:

"[Mau] is clear about what kinds of projects he wants to work on. "We have what we call the 'Four Ps' checklist," he says. The four "P"s stand for "people," "project," "profit," and "plate." Mau evaluates whether a client is someone he'd enjoy working with. He asks whether the project is one that BMD could learn from, as well as whether the firm can make money doing it. Finally, he considers how the project would fit onto BMD's plate: What impact would it have on the already-overcommitted team?"

Think about this for yourself when you're considering a project: Will you be working with people you like? Are you likely to learn something from the project? Are you likely to make money or get some other kind of reimbursement, like great connections or career advancement or personal satisfaction? And will it fit on your plate?

OK, honestly, I do pretty good with the first two: people and project. But my plate is always overloaded and I rarely make any money on my side projects. So maybe I only have two P's.

I never liked P's anyway.

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