Baseball is drama with an endless run and an ever-changing cast
The effective delivery of projects is also an endless drama with an equally tumultuous turnover in players. That is how I come to compare the growth and development of 项目经理s to that of baseball players. Specifically, I’m looking at the parallels between PMs and young ball players in their development.
When children start playing baseball, coaches work to ensure that everyone gets equal playing time. Coaches are focused on teaching the game and therefore try to have all the children play in each position in the field. When the players have very little experience, this strategy of equality works well. Even if little Johnny really has no clue how to pitch, putting him in the game will not hurt the team’s chances of winning. 记得在他们早期的棒球生涯中, 技能正在发展, 规则正在被学习, 培养团队精神. 这与胜利无关.
随着球员年龄的增长, coaches become a bit less altruistic in their assignment of defensive positions. 玩家开始专业化. 游戏变得更具竞争性. 贝琪显然是最好的游击手. Rotating her to first base would not make sense, nor would that help the team! 她也不知道那个位置. Coaches start to recognize how their players are developing and they begin to give the toughest assignments to those that are most capable (Betsy 属于 游击手). 然而，对于学习者来说，仍然有空间. 因为一些立场看到较少的行动, a less capable fielder can still be ‘hidden’ in a position that potentially may cause less damage.
在初中和高中水平, the importance of specialization for defensive positions is more evident than ever. There is less and less tolerance for a player that won’t commit to doing the work that is required to raise their skills. The game is still about having fun and learning, but the competitiveness is higher. 在这个级别, 重要的是，每个人都要拿出自己的最佳表现, 尝试他们最好的, 努力提高他们的能力. There is nowhere left to ‘hide’ a weaker player in the field. Every position sees action; every position is important; everyone contributes to the team’s success.
At the entry levels of project management, everyone can play with a set of general PM skills. And for those with a few years of experience under their belt, managing small projects is easy without the need to develop specialized skills. As PMs get more experienced, they start to hone their skills. They can run both small and medium sized initiatives and can do so with less oversight. 然而, with the growing complexity and increased business value of projects, it begins to get more difficult to ‘hide’ an inexperienced or less capable 项目经理. It has been my experience that all projects should have an ‘A’ player.
在大型项目和计划级别, the importance of a program manager as a professionally skilled resource becomes even more apparent. While subject matter expertise is always helpful for managing an initiative, the capabilities and talents provided by a professional PM cannot be backfilled. 另一方面, subject matter expertise from others on the team can always be leveraged to support the PM.
As the cast of your 项目经理 ranks turns over during the endless run of providing value within your company, 重要的是要清楚地确定:
- 所有项目经理的指导原则 – rules of the game tailored for the way your organization delivers – generic PMI processes are not sufficient.
- 核心能力和竞争力 你希望你所有的pm都能掌握. It’s not as simple as just “hit, catch and throw” anymore (or “plan, run, report”). Capabilities should be specifically tailored to project or program manager roles and their appropriate level (project analyst, 项目经理, 高级点, 项目经理……).
- 职业道路 – how to evolve and develop at the company in the PM role…or into other related roles. It can be similar to the farm system in Major League Baseball, 球员呆在一个俱乐部, 从支线团队成长为“大秀”团队,’ or even move to a non-player role in the front or back office. 项目经理应该从“未成年人”(小项目)成长起来, 到“专业”(大型项目和计划), and even evolve into non-delivery specific roles (business relationship managers).
资源优化并不容易. 这需要时间，精力和计划. And that long term plan for the development of your team is critical. 不要只把pm当作一次性资源. 计划一下你想从你的总理那里得到什么. Plan how they can grow and how they should continue to develop. In the immortal words of former NY Yankees manager 约吉贝拉, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, 因为你可能到不了那里.”