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Oct 31, 2023 BY Hunter Smith, former Mighty Citizen Project Management

The Art of Synergy: How the Enchantment of Fantasy Football Fuels the Precision of Project Management

Mighty Insights

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Fantasy football and project management may seem different, but their underlying skills and strategies often enhance each other. The skills honed in one area translate to success in the other. Let’s explore how being a skilled fantasy football manager can make you a better Project Manager or Coordinator and vice versa.

Drafting Your Team: Talent Selection

In fantasy football, you choose players based on their positions, past performances, and potential for the upcoming season. This skill effectively carries over into project management, where assembling a team requires selecting individuals with diverse skills and experience. Like in fantasy football, where you draft a balanced roster, project managers build teams of specialists to ensure a well-rounded and capable group. Both require you to understand the people you select and their specific skill sets to help achieve the goal.

Game Plan: When drafting a new team, consider a ‘get to know you’ session to improve team cohesion for the project. Asking questions like “What time of day do you work best?” or “How do you prefer to receive feedback?” can help team members communicate more effectively.

Setting Clear Goals: Objective Alignment

Managers of fantasy football teams set specific goals each season, such as winning the league championship or achieving a particular points target. In project management, defining clear objectives and milestones is essential. For instance, imagine you are managing the launch of a new product. The skills you’ve developed in your fantasy league for goal setting could help set objectives for your new product launch, like hitting a specific release date or maintaining a strict budget leading up to the product release.

Playbook: A sound project management system is key to project success. Tools like Basecamp or Teamwork can be helpful, and a shared document or spreadsheet can ensure your team is aligning on progress and responsibilities.

Developing Strategies: Tactical Planning

Often, in fantasy football, intricate strategies are devised to outwit opponents. This tactical mindset directly translates to project management, where developing strategies is crucial. Suppose one of your strategies in fantasy football is adapting your weekly lineup based on player matchups and performance trends. In project management, you might apply this adaptability to handle unforeseen challenges, such as adjusting the project timeline to accommodate client requests or optimizing resource allocation in response to changing priorities.

Tactical Touchdowns: When strategizing, regularly check in with your team members to ensure the strategy supports their success.

Risk Management: Mitigating Uncertainties

The legions of people worldwide in fantasy leagues are no strangers to risk management. They consider player injuries, weather conditions, and opponents’ strengths and weaknesses when setting their lineups. Project managers similarly evaluate and mitigate risks. As a project manager for a website redesign , your fantasy football skills translate into proactively identifying risks like team member availability, decision-maker access for approvals, compliance changes, and crafting contingency plans to minimize their impact on the project’s timeline and budget.

Defensive Pressure: Implementing a Risk and Issues log allows the team to identify current or future risks and discuss ways to mitigate them.

Decision-Making Under Pressure: Thriving in the Crucible

Before games, rapid decisions are required, like substituting players or adjusting your strategy based on new developments. Quick decision-making is a vital asset in project management, and a similar mindset drives agility during unexpected issues, such as reallocating resources to address a critical task delay or adapting to a sudden change in project scope.

Snap Decision: In both fantasy and project management, swift decision-making is vital. Stay agile if you want to cross the goal line!

Having a plan makes decisions easy and quick when change inevitably happens. Make sure your plan answers questions like:

  • What approvals are needed to shift a project plan?
  • Is there an additional budget set aside for when a change is needed?
  • Is there flexibility in the timeline to ensure changes are accounted for without overlooking stakeholder expectations?

Monitoring Progress: Data-Driven Insights

Tracking player statistics and monitoring their performance throughout the season is indispensable work. Similarly, project managers use data to track progress and insights and ensure they align with milestones and targets. Your ability to analyze player stats and adjust your strategy also allows you to leverage data in project management for driving critical metrics, evaluating performance, and making informed decisions.

Sideline Report: Set project success metrics upfront and track closely, e.g., team dedication. If a member’s commitment falls short, redistribute tasks or adjust timelines for better alignment.

Team Collaboration: Building Cohesion

To understand the importance of teamwork is to know achievement in fantasy football, with each player on your roster contributing to your overall success. Suppose you’re excellent at fostering a cohesive team spirit and ensuring everyone understands their role. In that case, project managers and project coordinators apply the same principles to building trust and open communication within their team, resulting in better cooperation and outcomes.

On a recent project with our client, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), board insight and approval were critical at each step of a website redesign. We built cohesion with representatives while empowering their team to build a trusting relationship. In each meeting, Mighty Citizen could stay agile in the moment, given our level of insight. Approvals were often ahead of schedule, and the site launched with more enhancements than initially planned because of the cohesion.

Collective Effort: Like in fantasy, successful projects hinge on team unity. Build trust, set clear roles, and create open lines of communication to ensure you exceed expectations.

Celebrating Success and Learning from Failure: Continuous Improvement

Both fantasy football and project management are all about celebrating successes and learning from failures. In the former, you scrutinize team success and shortcomings. In the latter, analytical skills assess project results. Cheering the passing of milestones and reflecting on achievements and setbacks encourages a mindset of continuous improvement.

In our work, a post-project learning review is a main milestone in the project. We analyze our wins and where things could run more smoothly. Areas of learning are shared with other teams so they can adjust accordingly. We celebrate the project together and review data insights, and the meeting helps foster our culture of continuous improvement.

Post-Game: In fantasy football and project management, analyze your success and areas for improvement. Celebrate milestones and share your findings!

At first glance, these two worlds may seem unrelated, but the skills and strategies developed in one discipline may significantly enhance your capabilities in the other. Whether you’re drafting your fantasy team or managing a multifaceted project, these parallels highlight the skills and insights gleaned from seemingly disparate areas of expertise. Becoming proficient in one discipline undoubtedly contributes to your success in the other, creating a virtuous cycle of improvement—and we call that a touchdown!


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