Okay, I work in consulting so that seems a little obvious. But hear me out. Big projects aren't just excellent because they usually mean big money. They are also great because of all the intangible benefits and unaccounted for side-effects.
When people are working on big projects, the little inefficiencies and mistakes they are used to compensating for become exaggerated and glaringly obvious. Likewise, those who can really deliver get an opportunity to do so on scale that is unmistakable. Your performance or lack of it is much easier to identify when the magnifying glass that is a large project is applied to it.
Of course, it isn't just personal performance. The demands of your clients, the companies you work with, the policies you have in place for growing people. All these are put under the stress of longer durations, more bodies, and a much wider diversity of insanity.
The meta-lesson for me here is; if you, like me, have the tenacity to jump onto the back of a moving band-wagon then it seems polite to let the guys at the front do the driving.One cool thing I really have come to really appreciate is how the gravity well of a big project showcases the motivations, self-sufficiencies, and sometimes even the loyalties of those you work with regularly.
-- David Ing (From 9 till 2)
Let's face it, steering a titanic is hard. Really frickin' hard. If it is for only a short time, or when the penalties are small, you can overlook lots of sniping, counter-productive, or selfish behavior. Start stretching the durations or increasing the costs of failure, and watch how the spotlight finds those who act counter to the culture or the company.