With the playoffs behind us and the Superbowl on Sunday, it is hard not to relate the game of football to our daily lives. When you start to relate football to Project Management, you might find Project Managers are essentially the quarterbacks of their project team; directing the team’s offensive plays with a goal of leading them to victory. We thought we would run with this comparison to see if we could draw some valuable tips on project management from the gridiron pastime.
- Train differently– If you want to be the best Project Manager you can be, you should be on top of the latest PM best practices, but brushing up on skills that specifically pertain to your role as a leader will really make you shine. While all pro football players go through extensive and rigorous training, the quarterback trains a little differently. Many pro quarterbacks are put through leadership training and are evaluated on their ability to “see the field.” This isn’t much different for PMs. If you are a Project Manager looking to better your game, it may be beneficial to study up on leadership, big picture thinking, and decision making.
- Perfect the Toss – As a PM, knowing your resources and how to use them to the best of their ability is a huge contributing factor to the success or failure of a project. For a quarterback, it’s the same. The quarterback needs to be able to know who to toss the ball to based on real-time factors, as well as that player’s ability to carry out the play. Next time you are planning your project, put yourself in a quarterback’s position, it might help you decide who to designate certain tasks to.
- Keep an eye on the clock – For Project Managers and Quarterbacks alike, time is something that’s rarely on their side. In fact, the reason most college QBs fail when going pro is they have so much trouble keeping up with the high speed of professional football. One tip a QB might give a project manager is to perfect and focus on the plan. If the plan is well developed and communicated, then no time is wasted looking for players or thinking about next steps in the moment. If everyone knows the plan and executes without abandon, time might become a little friendlier to you.
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