Spruce interactive


Venn Diagram of a Dream Project

Posted: June 7th, 2013

Author: KJ Parish


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So, it’s not news to anyone that finding that perfect balance on a project where everyone is super happy while business is humming and the bank account gets nourished is actually incredibly hard to do. We, as a team, are not immune to this and can find ourselves scratching our heads trying to figure out what exactly made a project so darn awesome while others felt less fulfilling on some level.

Enter the Dream Project Venn Diagram


It seems that for a project to be truly over-the-top awesome, the overall scope, process and vibe of the project needs to fall into three areas. They must be personally satisfying to work on, pay the bills, and/or be a worthy investment for the company in some way. Ideally, the dream is to have all three occurring within a single project, but we’ve figured out that any given project must have at least two out of the three or the project should probably die a quick death.

Personal Satisfaction

Is the team excited? Do they feel personal satisfaction working on the project?
This is where much of the magic happens. When people believe in something, mountains get moved (or, apps get developed with a bunch of great dialogue and awesome music shares on our internal chat client). People feel like what they are designing, building, or strategizing matters in some way. Generally, the clients are great communicators, or it’s an internal project we all chose to do. Super-super duper. But, that being said, you can’t keep afloat on personal satisfaction alone, which is where the other two come in.

Investment / Has Growth Potential

Sure, the pay is slim or possibly even completely pro-bono, but it’s worth doing for a variety of reasons.
Maybe it’s a super-duper great client with a wonderful goal and we want to help them achieve it. When combined with personal satisfaction, this one can be a winner, even with the shortage of funds. But, yeah, sometimes these projects fall into back-burner land or end up taking longer or getting the shorter end of the stick with project management as a result. The difficulty is that, without enough monetary compensation, you can’t throw all of your resources at these kinds of projects at once. It needs a slower approach…a calculated delivery that’s in-check with other projects in the pipeline that help people keep their jobs. But, now and again, a worthy investment pays off, especially if an awesome client in this realm recommends you to others or their project or idea really takes off. This is a great way to build an awesome relationship for life.

Monetary Compensation

In short, it pays the bills. No loss here, all work is fully compensated.
Let’s face it, we need to get paid. Everyone does eventually. It’s not satisfying to “do it for the money” but, when the project is personally satisfying it’s great to be getting paid to love what you do. Less ideal scenarios include projects that may pay well, and could have some growth potential for the business down the road, but for the moment (at least) are not personally satisfying to anyone. Any number of things could make a project less personally satisfying, but generally speaking, it seems like those that lack this aspect simply do a poor job of fully utilizing the skills of the team. People are happier when they have the chance to do their jobs and do them well. So, if designers aren’t given the chance to show their best work, or developers aren’t building something that sets their minds a’fire, it can be a flat internal experience which isn’t rectified by fair compensation or even the potential for growth. But, sometimes you just gotta take one for the team. Just not too often.

So, as I mentioned above, we’ve determined that a project needs to have two out of three (at least) to feel like an internal success. I guess you could say it takes two to tango but three to soar. We like making visuals of this kind of stuff now and then as we reflect on our own growth and process. If it’s helpful to you, all the better. Enjoy!

  • pourbrew

    beautiful. I’ve often thought about this Venn Triad.

Talk to Us

Wise men have said, "All good things must come to an end", and so it was with Spruce. We began our first project in 2006, and completed our last in Fall 2013. It's been a wonderful experience, but now it's time to begin the next adventure.

Though...we wouldn't want to leave you hanging, now would we? Here are our top recommendations for world-class branding, design, and web development:

  • Kristina (KJ) Parish and Beam Collective:
    KJ provided the artistic vision that allowed Spruce to succeed, and we still think she's the greatest designer in the entire world. She's started a new collective with some talented developers, and is covering much the same territory as Spruce--design and development all under one roof, with a caliber of service and professionalism seldom seen in this business or any other. If you like what you see on the Spruce site, then definitely get in touch with KJ at kj@beamcollective.com
  • Permanent Art & Design
    Permanent is a nationally recognized design & branding firm out of Minneapolis, MN. They've been a long term collaborator and strategic partner over the past couple years, and we'd recommend them for medium to large sized businesses/organizations who are serious about putting their best foot forward. In addition to design, Permanent offers strategy and marketing services, plus in-house and networked developers. For more information contact Joseph Belk joseph@permanentadg.com
  • Nate Thompson
    A freelancer, Nate reminds us of ourselves back in the day. Smart, communicative, and skilled, Nate is our recommendation for small to medium sized businesses/organizations who have sites built on Wordpress or other open source content management solutions. With a background in both design and development, he's a one-stop shop for most web-related tasks. You can get in touch at nate.a.thompson@gmail.com
  • Kevin DeBernardi
    Designer turned developer, Kevin is embarking on a freelance web career after working as the in-house designer at the Museum of the City of New York. He's adept at translating his design ideas into custom PHP code, and is constantly expanding his technical palette. Kevin's a good choice for projects that don't quite fit into the Wordpress mold, and that would benefit from a consistency of presence and vision from design through execution. Kevin can be reached at kevin@analoglifestyle.com