April 18, 2012 2 Comments
Baseball is drama with an endless run and an ever-changing cast
–Joe Garagiola, MLB Catcher and TV announcer
The effective delivery of projects is also an endless drama with an equally tumultuous turnover in players. This is my second blog comparing baseball and the world of delivery. In my first blog on this topic, I compared consultants to coaches. In this entry, I’m comparing the growth and development of project managers to that of baseball players. Specifically, I’m looking at the parallels between PM’s and young ball players in their development.
When children start out playing baseball, we coaches work to ensure that everyone gets equal playing time. We also are focused on teaching the game and therefore try to have all the kids play in each position in the field. When the players have very little experience, this strategy of equality sometimes backfires. Little Johnny really has no clue how to pitch, and putting him in the game will hurt the team’s chances of winning. However, to offset that down side, we must remember that in their early baseball career, skills are being developed, rules are being learned, and teamwork is being learned. It’s not about the Win.
As players get older, coaches become a bit less altruistic in their assignment of defensive positions. Players begin to specialize. The games become more competitive. Betsy is clearly the best short stop, but that doesn’t mean the coach can place her at first base (nor would that help the team!). She doesn’t know that position as well. Even with the best intentions of the coaches, inequity creeps in. Coaches start to recognize how their players are developing and they begin to give the toughest assignments to those that are most capable. However, there is still room for the learner. Since some positions see less action, a less capable fielder can still be ‘hidden’ in a position that potentially may cause less damage. Read more of this post