Promotion-relevant: the signature project

In many companies, promotions are fueled by *signature projects*. What is a signature project and why does it often lead to promotion? And how can you get one?

If you live up to the expectations of your role or go slightly beyond it that doesn’t necessarily “show” that you are on the next level.

Therefore many companies, particularly those where team members put together their promotion packages/requests, rely on signature projects. I personally refrain from saying this is a good or a bad thing. However, it does exist.

A signature project is a high-stakes, many-stakeholders, unit-crossing project, initiative or large-scale task that can ultimately become your “signature move”. You will most likely be forever be associated with it. Good when it brings you glory. Awful if it doesn’t. There is some risk involved!

A signature project could also be a project that leadership cares about for personal reasons or a project that has the characteristics of what it “usually” takes to get promoted.

Signature projects are sometimes hand-picked by managers for their reports, i. e. they hand the project “down”.

Why? Because they see you are doing great, you are ready for the next step and they want to give you a chance to prove yourself. Likewise, you could choose/pick a project that you know will become a signature project by its criteria and suggest it to your management.

Once successfully completed, a signature project will give you the opportunity to tout your virtues, to include it into your promotion package or to put it to the attention of high-level stakeholders.

In some companies, the final report and/or follow-up discussions are also great opportunities for self-advertisement. It showcases that difference between work previously done by you and what you are capable of achieving.

Since the larger share of companies promotes for already existing performance that is a key element.

Examples for signature projects:
* Supporting the PO on delivering a subtopic successfully to get to senior.
* Evaluating and steering the introduction of an HR software with budgetary responsibility and vendor exchange to get from senior to lead.
* Project responsibility for several teams to go from project to program manager.



Franziska Hauck - tech (people) {code}

Franziska Hauck is a people strategist with a focus on tech/product/data/ux. tech (people) {code} is her hub for all things human in tech & Germany IT insights.