In the original movie "Toy Story", the two main characters were Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Woody was the old established toy that the child stuck in the toy box. Buzz was the latest, most exciting new toy in the industry. Many time in a company, the "Buzz Lightyear" project/product represents new technology, the new innovation, the place to be. On the otherhand, the "Woody" products are the ones that is usually generate tons of revenue and profit, and have a bunch of customers. It is perceived from a technology point-of-view to be mature, boring, and "out of fashion".
In leading a "Buzz Lightyear" product effort, it is not hard to make those projects seem exciting and therefore, perceived as the important to success of the business.
In leading a "Woody" product effort, it is critical to communicate to the people working "why their efforts" are important. You need to constantly provide feedback about:
- Customer success
- The critical nature of their role in the product initiative
- The bigger picture of the business context....so that understand it is not just about the technology but about the business that makes their efforts important.
It is my experience that once people understand the importance of their efforts, it creates excitement for both the team and the individual.