The Dallas Mavericks: Project ‘Win The Game’

Two days ago, the Dallas Mavericks were down by 15 points in the last quarter, in their game against the Orlando Magic. A 15 point deficit isn’t easy to make up, certainly not against one of the best rebounders in the league. But the whole Dallas team rallied in time, and with Dirk Nowitzki’s game winning shot with just under 6 seconds to go, they got that all important win.

The Dallas team probably didn’t think they were completing a project, but they were. Just as any other project, this win had to be managed properly to make sure that the project was completed successfully, so they had to follow the plan.

Step 1: Explain the project plan to key stakeholders and discuss its key components.
First of all, you have to make sure that the key stakeholders – the players, in this case – understand the plan, and know that it develops over the course of the project – climb back from the 15 points hole – as changes occur on the court.

Step 2: Define roles and responsibilities.
Now that the plan is in place, make sure everyone knows what they are doing, and how each team member is responsible for making the project succeed. Some are assigned to defend, others to attack, and some are watching from the sidelines, trying to see where the opposing is more vulnerable, and assessing their side’s risks.

Step 3: Develop a scope statement.
The team has twelve minutes in which to complete the tasks set out for them. The scope may change during that time – Jason Terry might make all his shots, so he becomes the go-to guy, in charge of the team’s offense. The defensive side might need adjusting to the other team’s substitutions. However the basic project objective and key milestones will, of course, remain the same.

Step 4: Develop the project baselines.
Once the scope is completed, and the team and project manager know what they need to deliver, they need to break it down so that they can identify what exactly needs to be done in detail. Who need to guard whom, what is the best way to execute down the line, who should be sent to the foul line, and who should take the big shots. Resources (team players), time for each task (less than 24 seconds), dependencies (defenders have to get the ball before the offense comes into play) and so on.

Step 5: Communicate!
A vital part of any project becomes even more important when the team has very little time in which to complete each task, and when communication with one another on the court helps them make the right decision in split seconds. All players also need to know what the coach – the project manager – wants them to do at any given time, so communication is key here.
In this case, the Dallas Mavericks completed their project on time, and got the win – which is always the best way to finish a project 🙂

Happy Todos 2nd April 2012