How do you set project roles? Leeds Rhinos show the way

Life is not all project management – or at least I try and make it that way.

Saturday saw me drive all of 15 miles across London (which took me 2 hours!) to see my favourite rugby league team the current champions Leeds Rhinos. They were playing Harlequins and had a much changed side with 8 players out (international calls and injuries).

It was a great day out with Leeds winning 42-22 – a wonderful result with so many regular 1st teamers out. The reserve players played really well.

At the press conference afterwards the Leeds Coach Brian McClennan was asked:

“How did you approach this game? Did you see it as a potential opportunity or a banana skin with all the reserves?”

McClennan reply is interesting. Look at some of the things he said:

“I turned it over to the players”

“I said, this is your baby, you work it out”

“The players took a lot of ownership on their roles; they took a lot of ownership on how they would play.”

So how does this link with project team roles? I have written many times about problems with roles in project management. Only last week on a project management training course I ran a project manager suggested he did not know who his sponsor was and this was having a negative impact on the project. Link this with a survey by Project Agency. We have asked project managers whether their roles, responsibilities, and levels of authority are clear in our projects. Almost 60% who have answered suggest this is not the case.

Here is a shining example of a situation where personnel changes demanded clear roles and a coach who though giving them their head, ensured that all bases were covered. Oh for the same in projects!

Well done the Rhinos –  the players, and the coach. A great victory and a great example.

See post match comments from Brian McClennan here

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