The Mamba Mentality for Project Managers
Before venturing into project management, my first love was the captivating game of basketball. As time progressed, my expertise in projects gained an upper hand, while dribbling the ball became one of my hobbies. It wasn’t long until I perceived project managers as superheroes, miracle workers, knights in shining armor (you get my point!) who step in at the spur of the moment to save the day, rescue stakeholders and deliver strategic value.
This article explores the practice of project management from the game of basketball, and through the mind of one of the greatest athletes to ever grace the court: Kobe Bryant, aka The Black Mamba. I will provide insight into “The Mamba Mentality,” a mindset that every project manager can benefit from adopting.
In the game of basketball, you have five players on either side; four quarters of 12 minutes each; three distinct scoring options; and two opposing teams all geared toward one objective: to put the ball in the opponent’s basket. The game is a complex sequence of activities, movements, passes and screens that is captivating to watch.
While basketball rarely comes across as a metaphor for project management, the game very much mirrors the fundamentals of our discipline:
5 players: The dynamics of talent and teamwork in project teams are very similar to the game of basketball: high-
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