What is a project?

After two years (because of COVID), we celebrated the success of the SAANA initiative. During a long journey which started back in 2013, WL has onboarded some millions of cards for one of our most important client in Scandinavia: OP bank. It was a very exciting experience thanks to which we have established a long term and fruitful partnership with the Finnish bank.

Such a big achievement deserved a big celebration and, after the covid period, the date arrived in the midsummer week in the wonderful scenery of the Finnish isles in front of the harbour of Helsinki.

A nice restaurant within an old castle hosted a lot of OP and WL colleagues who contributed, in different manners, to the success of this important initiative. The celebration started with some official speeches from WL and OP management to remark the valuable goals reached and to thank all the teams from different locations across Europe.

Looking at the faces of the people hearing the addresses (many of them completely unknown) and admiring the smiles on their faces, lit up by the sunset light, I was thinking what has connected so many people, from different countries, speaking different languages and belonging to different time zones. The project, you would say, and you would be right: it was the SAANA project that linked all the people here gathered on the Finnish island.

But what is a project? What does it consist of? For sure any project consists of a budget, some milestones, commercial agreements, technical deployments, a lot of meetings, calls, workshops and discussion. All these things make the project what is it.

But, to be frank, there is probably some more important ingredients, something more special that makes each project unique and exclusive. I think that, above all, the project is made by the people, by those who are committed to share some objectives, to reach some common goals, who are available to leave their comfort zone and accept the challenges for new finish lines.

The project “is” the people who decide to cross the borders, to reduce the geographical distances and to cut down the cultural barriers to play the same match.

One of the mottos of the evening was the expression “win-win” and “lose-lose”. Any project starts only if the different stakeholders decide to accept the win-win logic: we succeed together or we fail together. If you look at this expression, there is something deep and valuable: any project triumphs if all teams (from the different parties) mature the awareness that they all share the same destiny, that they are called to build a new house where all of them can dwell comfortably.

In a nutshell, a successful project “happens” when we pass from the “I” to the “we”; when, beyond the legal contracts, there are trust, connection, comprehension, tolerance, patience and sometimes, even friendship.

People are the secret of each rewarding project; people are the success key of any initiative, as only smart people can transform any occasion into an opportunity. 

Published in Worldline July newsletter 


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