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The Project 50 Or: Fifty Ways to Transform Every "Task" Into A Project That MATTERS!

Tom Peters
Alfred A. Knopf, 1999
ISBN 0-375-40773-1

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This book is part of a new series by Tom Peters on Reinventing Work. They are small, readable hardbacks with many take-aways. Very practical and action oriented. See his web site at

Table of Contents:

  1. The book is divided in to four parts that address: Create, Sell, Implement, and Exit components of any WOW! Project.
  2. There are 50 short, pithy sections with action items and specific implementation ideas. Sample Section titles include:

    1. REFRAME. Never-ever!-accept a project/assignment as given.

    4. THERE ARE NO "SMALL" PROJECTS: In every little form or procedure, in every "little" problem there usually lurks a b-i-g project!

    17. Treat the WOW Project like a small business. (It is.)

    18. Obsess on deadlines. WOW Projects deliver.

    20a. Find-a-customer. Think user...from the start.

    23. "Sell" anyone and everyone...anytime...not just the Big Cheese.

    24. Work on BUZZ...all the time!

    31. Think Beta! You need customer test sites. ASAP.

    32. Chunk it! / Test it! / Try it!

    33a. Teach prototyping. CREATE A "CULTURE OF PROTOTYPING".

    39. Make Lists! Succinct lists may be Power Tool No. 1.

    41. Master the 15-minute meeting. The succinct, summary morning meeting matters!

    42a. Celebrate FAILURES! Only fast failure foreshadows fast success.

    46. KEEP FOCUSED ON THE USER COMMUNITY. (now more than ever.)

    48. SELL OUT! We must put our baby into the mainstream if we want lasting impact.

    50. Write up your WOW Success. Celebrate. MOVE ON!

The chapter headings tell it all--every project leader needs to read this book. No boring "how To Status" chapters. This is distinctly different and will help you create projects that are WOW!.

The few gems listed below provide a flavor of what is inside. This book is full of gems. If I were starting a great project tomorrow, I would give every team member a copy of this book and ask them to help me create the next WOW! Project.

Projects have four major components. Tom believes our typical PM books completely ignore 1, 2, and 4. When was the last time you read about the selling of your project?

  1. Create
  2. Sell
  3. Implement
  4. Exit

"I perpetually wonder how any-and-every-experience could be transformed into a memorable/WOW experience. I sincerely believe that using the word -- i.e., WOW- is essential!"

To get going on a B-I-G issue (like culture change), you do not need a big project.

Volunteer for crap!...In crap lies WOW!

Will the results of the project be memorable/braggable/"WOW!"?

Put design on every project meeting's agenda.

Quick Prototyping Excellence = Project Implementation Excellence

There is no such thing as a "revolutionary" (or even worth-getting-out-of-bed-for) project... if the Web doesn't play a B-I-G/B-O-L-D role.

No "politics" = No implementation

You will not -- pure and simple -- create a WOW Project from a homogeneous team. Period.

A WOW Project is a quintessential startup.

Lavish credit on anyone and everyone...who helped you the least bit.

WOW Projects must be sold.

Contributed by John Warren, Integrated Project Systems

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