Project Management

3 Project Management Lessons from College Basketball

Basketball and project management go together like peanut butter and jelly. As David Wakeman writes for Voices on Project Management, to manage an NCAA ball team through successive rounds of tournament play requires strategic leadership, organizational alignment, and strategic integration of player skills/motivations into a fluid working union. So basically, it’s project management. Wakeman offers three basic tips for how to run your project management team basketball-style (or vice versa).

Three Power Plays

  1. Integrate talent.
  2. Put the team first.
  3. Build interconnections.

Integrate Talent: Jay Wright, the coach of Villanova University’s basketball team, had to learn the hard way. After a select group of talented players were brought onto the team, his coaching philosophy began to focus primarily on raw talent. After this strategy continued to fail for the Villanova team, the coach returned to his old philosophy of aligning all team member goals to the team’s mission. In the end, the well-integrated team won the day.

Put the Team First: Taking the concept of the resilient team further, Wakeman discusses another former college ball coach Dean Smith. Smith created an “honor roll” to recognize outstanding efforts, and went out of his way to ensure that each member was comfortable and accommodated in his role. PMs should take notes:

<p>As a project manager, put your team first by making sure you highlight your team’s successes and accomplishments during the project. As much as possible, shield them from the demands of sponsors and stakeholders who may have a particular agenda they are trying to advance.

Build Interconnections: Lastly, a good basketball coach knows how to help players connect with each other. In the grand scheme of the game, it is not the individual talent that matters so much as the relationships that allow that talent to interact and to compound success. As a project manager, you’re faced with getting people who work at a remote distance to communicate and to link up, but that shouldn’t stop you from “playing ball!”

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Hey AITS readers, would you like to take Bruce Harpham’s new survey about the career advancement strategies that project managers use to get ahead? He says you could be entered into a drawing to win a free premium subscription to the Project Management Podcast hosted by Cornelius Fichtner for taking it! Take the survey here through Saturday, April 25:

(This survey is not affiliated in any way with Computer Aid.)

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