Updated: Jul 15, 2020
I was a pretty decent baseball player back in the day. Lots of Business Lessons were learned between the lines; Leadership, Trust, Teamwork to name a few. Another lesson was the use of a Playbook. My freshman year of high school I was called up to the Varsity team and the coach gave me the team Playbook. I had never used a Playbook in baseball. Hit the ball, throw the ball, run. What was the need?
As it turned out Varsity ball was far more complex than Freshman or JV. A few years later I also learned that College ball was even more advanced than High School. However, my college coach didn't have a Playbook and my brief time on that team was far more chaotic than my High School experience.
The value from the Playbook was ensuring the team was aligned on what to do in any situation. This allowed all of us to build trust in one another knowing that we would be in the right place at the right time. It didn't matter if we had a reserve playing shortstop or left field or catcher. Everyone knew what to do. The cutoff man was in place for balls in the gap. The pitcher was always backing up the bases in the right spot. We weren't the most talented team in our league, but we were the most prepared.
At one point during the season we won 20 consecutive games. We beat the big schools, small schools, in-league, non-league and rivals. It was a perfect team. A great leader, good players, and a Playbook. I didn't get to appreciate the importance of the Playbook until I developed into a Project Manager early in my career. One day working as a Jr PM I wondered why the project team wasn't all on the same page. Then, I remembered Coach Gold's Varsity Baseball Team Playbook.
The Playbook is the perfect tool for Project Managers. Regardless of the players/teammates on the project, if we are working off the same Project Management Playbook I trust you will get the job done well. The team will know when work will be done, how it will be communicated, which tools will be used, what is the project objective, who are the project stakeholders, what process to follow for completing work, reporting status, providing estimates, recording time, etc. Effective use of a Project Management Playbook from an old catcher like me can make the difference between winning projects and losing projects!
If only I could still hit a fastball today like I did way back when! Glory Days!