Project Management

Game Plans

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If you spend a reasonable amount of time working on projects, you are likely to hear team members use sports metaphors. This is a positive trait. Sports metaphors can be great motivators and examples of “how to do things.”

Beyond the metaphors, can methodologies in team sports suggest core practices for project management? We think the answer to this question is yes. Here, we focus on eight areas that we feel are particularly relevant.

1. Individual talent does not guarantee a successful team or outcome. Individual talent does not guarantee team success in any situation. It is the way the team performs as a unit that matters the most. Team selection and how team members “gel together” are key to ensuring that individual skills brought to the team merge to produce a successful outcome. To realize the best result, this might include inciting some deliberate “creative tension” among team members. Sports teams have opportunities to play and learn together over a season or longer. Project teams are usually one-off in nature, so members must quickly learn to work together. In project management, we typically create a Resource Plan that details the skills required for the project, and at what point they will be required. It is crucial to consider the impact of the way in which each individual who is selected will mesh with the whole team.…

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"Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?"

- Charlie McCarthy (Edgar Bergen)