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Winning Is the Result, Not Project Management
By Michael Pruitt

The Keller Rohrback Masters Cycling team was designed to win Criteriums, and we did that in spades this year. We won Volunteer Park, Wenatchee Criterium, 40+ Masters State Criterium , Joe Matava and the Brad Lewis Memorial Criterium. We finished second in the 30+ Masters State Criterium and third at the Ballard Criterium. The only races we didn’t win or podium where the Redmond Derby and Tacoma Twilight Criteriums.

The bedrock of our success has been a clearly defined objective and the consistent communication within the team. We worked together to agree on how to achieve the team’s goals, plan each race, learn from each race and adapt as needed. We used agile user stories without investing in a lot of tools. Prioritization and communication, which are foundations of agile, were used. Despite what some of the perceptions of agile may be, using this method actually cost us less time than many teams put into not being organized.

By using these methods, there was no misunderstanding of how to reach the goals. During the discussions about how to reach these goals, we developed several contingency plans. This meant that we were prepared in case our first method wasn’t working, and we could “call an audible on the fly” to adjust whole team in unison instantly for a new route to the win. All parties of the team were engaged in the decision-making. Decisions weren’t dictated from one person downward, so when the plan was endorsed by all, it was executed more confidently.

Project management tools and techniques exist to support management of people (and resources), and are not end results themselves. Yet it’s exceedingly common for organizations and managers to allow these tools and techniques to become that end result.

Michael Pruitt chronicles his pursuits as both an Engagement Manager and an avid cyclist, and will talk about the overlap and learnings from both in this blog series. You can contact Michael at MichaelPru@vmc.com.

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