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Why giving your projects meaningful names can change the way you work

Today, I’ve spent time with Buzz Lightyear, Rick Astley and The A-Team. It might sound like I’ve been having a pretty intense fever dream, but I’ve actually been sitting at my desk, doing some legitimate work on three different Skin and Blister projects.

We stumbled upon our project naming strategy by accident, when multiple versions of the same project were causing mass confusion among the team. We had a project that kept coming back to us, which we nicknamed ‘Arnie’. This was only ever intended for internal use, but when we mentioned it to our client, they loved it so much that it stuck with them, too. From then on, we’ve always given our projects memorable names of famous people, characters or objects, and believe it’s changed our work for the better, because:

Everyone knows what they’re working on 

From a practical point of view, a recognisable project title makes it crystal clear to everyone what they’re working on. It saves confusion between similar projects, it makes filling out timesheets easier and it’s just more fun than a boring job number.

You care more about the project

Project XYT9000 might not make you feel anything, but project Inspector Gadget is bound to peak your interest. Giving your projects names humanises them and makes them feel like a friend, which can really motivate you to see the project through to the end, and deliver the best work you possibly can. 

It helps with confidentiality

If you’re on a train, in a cafe or in a co-working space, it can be tricky to have an open conversation about your projects. Saying “How is Buzz Lightyear getting on?” won’t breach any confidentiality agreements (but it might lead to a few dodgy looks), and it makes communication a lot easier.

Clients get on board

A project name that you have thought about and shared with clients shows them that you are passionate about it, and are giving it the focus it deserves. And if you and your clients are equally excited by the work you’re doing, you’re far more likely to get to a final result that you’re both happy with. Nothing takes clients on a project journey like calling it Miss Marple. Trust us on this one.

If you’re sitting on a lot of projects at the moment, why not try giving them some interesting project names? You might find it changes the way you approach your work. Or it might just give you an excuse to send people this iconic Rick Astley video from time to time. Which should be reason enough to do it. 


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