The big rugby tournament is underway in Japan and the all-conquering All Blacks will be many people’s favourites to win the title. What can be done to stop them? Could applying the seven PRINCE2® principles help? I say yes (well, maybe), here’s how:
- Business Justification - can you justify the value of the project at each stage of the lifecycle?
Easy! If you don’t beat them – in the knockout stages at least – you are out of the tournament. Next…
- Learn from Experience - project managers should utilize their knowledge gained from prior experiences in order to improve upon their practice
Preparation, preparation, preparation – it is highly likely that most teams will have played the All Blacks at some point but, even if they haven’t, they will be able to access hundreds of minutes of television footage to assist.
- Roles and Responsibilities - clear roles should be established with clear delegation, ownership, and accountability
Having learnt from experience, use that knowledge to have a plan on the pitch: players to target, kicking vs passing, forwards play vs backs play. Roles and responsibilities extend beyond the players, it also applies to the coaches, doctors, nutritionists, organizers etc. Remember the janitor at NASA who said to John F Kennedy ‘I’m helping to put a man on the moon’? Everyone should be focused on how they fit into the primary goal.
- Manage by Stages - after the completion of each stage, an appraisal should be completed to clarify the project’s objectives and resource optimization
Rugby has numerous breaks – half time, injuries, referrals to the video referee… and of course when a try is scored! These breaks should not be wasted, they are an opportunity to review progress and learn lessons.
- Manage by Exception - tolerances are defined to ensure and establish an absolute limit of authority
Sometimes the game plan may not quite work but effective communication, strong leadership and the ability to make rapid tactical changes could make a significant difference to the outcome. Versatility and adaptability could be the key to success.
- Focus on Products - quality of product delivery should be paramount and a central focus of the project
Playing a team with the quality of the All Blacks will require total focus on playing the best rugby possible in order to have a chance of success. But this IS possible – who can forget Japan beating South Africa in England in 2015?
- Tailor to Suit the Environment - the PRINCE2 framework can be tailored to the project’s requirements, regardless of size, complexity and scope
Japanese weather in September and October will be warm, very humid and, at times, very rainy. In short, an unusual rugby environment for many of the teams including the All Blacks! Teams can prepare and turn this to their advantage - Wales for example practised for the humidity by smearing grease on the ball. Will it help? I hope so, I have them in the office sweepstake!
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