How we make Awkward choices

The reasoning behind deciding what projects to work on differs at every company. At Awkward, we try to look at multiple facets in order to make the “right” choice. To help us make the right choice we created a tool that guides us through that investigation: an internal checklist related to what we stand for as a company.

One day, a new project emerges and an opportunity presents itself. Wonderful! We get excited, meet the client and let him walk us through the project. As curious as we are, we want to know a LOT. But not every question we have is about raw data. We’re dealing with a person, a company with a vision and a purpose. We’re interested in the people behind the ideas or projects and what drives them.

Projects we work on are preferably the ones that have overlap with our company values. Over the course of 5 years we’ve learned a lot about building products and gathered a lot of experience. It helped us define 4 areas that we’re most interested in:

Product — Do we match with the client on product level?
Team — What will our team get out of it?
Company — How will the project benefit Awkward?
Budget — What is our financial gain?

Every area consists of a set of criteria that forces us to think about different aspects of the project. An example for each:

When we talk about Product, we consider if the product is challenging (enough). Will it make a difference when finished? Does the project encourage us to step outside of our comfort zone?

Based on Team, we try to answer questions related to pride and personal growth. Would we be proud to have worked on the product? Would it be something to talk about at birthday parties or in bars/at meetups? What will we learn from the project? Will we be able to use our newfound knowledge for next projects?

We also take a look at our vision regarding Company. Does the product match our vision or does it complement what we stand for as a company? Could the project be a logical (or illogical) way to be part of our strategy supporting our mission?

Lastly, the budget. This will consist of raw criteria we should consider when deciding to take on a client (or not). Questions that come to mind are if the project is purely getting paid for by the client? Does it need an investment by Awkward and/or is there a certain risk involved?

By taking these aspects into account we encourage ourselves, and the client, to dig deeper into the project. This helps us decide whether or not Awkward can be of any help for the client.

So in short, you don’t just want to advance on a commercial level 🤑, but also on a team and individual level 👊. We think you should be critical when choosing between possibilities. For us, our checklist helps us do that.

Keep in mind that we are by no means an expert at this. It’s a buildup of experiences we’ve gathered until now and we’d love to share! Let us know how you make decisions taking on a project, get in touch via Twitter and leave your feedback!

Download our checklist!

Interested in our checklist? You can download it here.

Originally published at awkward.co.

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