Recognising the impact of small wins

Published 5/19/2024

Most of us start a project with an end goal in mind. Whether it’s completing market research, building a website or creating a digital product, the focus is generally on the end result. 

For us at X is Y, the end goal of our projects is usually to deliver a dashboard to gain a common understanding of progress toward a goal through goal-driven ceremonies. 

Working with clients to finalise a dashboard can look like consistent back and forth collaborations between stakeholders, finding answers to challenges or re-building dashboard visuals and hitting roadblocks during development.

The process of getting there can take weeks, months or even years, depending on the size of the project, meaning the end result can feel distant. 

Steph Khoo, Data Experience Designer at X is Y, found herself getting demotivated throughout the process, focusing too much on the end outcome and growing frustrated with the pace of reaching a result. 

I felt like I wasn’t making an impact until we finally reached that goal. To me, what defined ‘success’ or ‘impact’ was providing the dashboard, and that always seemed so far away. I would get stuck in the development phase and felt like I wasn’t making a difference with my work, and therefore wasn’t fulfilling the value I wanted to provide.

Shifting to a smaller focus

When Steph changed from focusing exclusively on the end product and started to instead identify the ‘small wins’ along the way, it changed how she viewed her work, and the impact it was having with our clients.

It broadened how I could define my ‘impact’. Actively finding and acknowledging the small wins helps me sustain the motivation to get to the end result, while appreciating the value of the necessary steps to get there.

The clients we build these dashboards for are taken along the journey of development, meaning Steph began to see there are many opportunities for her contribution to make a difference.

She started to see valuable small wins like:

  • Positively impacting client work culture by showing them how we worked as a team.

  • Educating and helping users feel confident in using dashboards and understanding data (data literacy) along the way.

  • Supporting people through our communication and participating in meaningful conversations and interactions with people. Are we uplifting them, are we encouraging them? Are we helping people feel like they have a purpose in life? At the end of the day, people are what matters, and impact can come down to how we made someone feel during our work day. 

  • Helping clients establish and implement helpful processes.

  • Helping users understand their data even more through our collaborative approach to development, even before we released the dashboard (read more about why user experience testing matters and our approach)

  • Having a curious and open mindset so you are open to learn new things

"Now I can reflect that not just me as an individual but us as an X is Y delivery team (our sprint lead, data engineer) can make a difference, not just at the final delivery but small wins along the way such as, helping clients source data they didn't have before, helping them have a good mindset, impacting their culture - all these small wins are important” says Steph.

Celebrating sustainable progress

To change the world you start by changing the things that are part of your world. If you can help one person then you're already making a difference. At the same time, there are small wins that change you, too - the things you learn and the people you meet.

Steph’s advice: "Focus on the little things that matter to help motivate you as you work towards that big end proposition - the thing that actually pays the bills. For me this was more sustainable."

If you’re curious about how you can embed ways of working that keep your team moving forward, schedule a free introductory chat with our team via the link below.

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