3 Project Management Lessons From the Peloton - Key Elements Managers Should Take From the Tour de France

From the Editor

The Tour De France's famous peloton--the large cluster formation cyclists form while racing--is not only a fantastic, chaotic sight but also a little-understood method to conserve energy. Made up of 200 riders from 22 teams, riders in the Tour de France's peloton use this pack to draft off one another. The front rider endures the brutal wind and falls back after exerting their energy, thus preserving energy for key riders who are spared the wind and gain speed from drafting nearby racers. Spectators can gain truly important project management lessons from these athletes. Project managers looking to refine their task management system should pay attention to the following advice gleaned from this unique sports phenomenon.

1. Join Forces With the Best Each of the 22 teams needs a leader who can formulate a well-rounded team while covering gaps in talent. Each team is carefully cultivated to include cyclists who move in a specific formation and rotation to ensure the right riders are saving their energy at the right time. Among their numerous other responsibilities, talent scouting is one of the most significant tasks for project managers. They need to recruit top talent, spot gaps in skills and fill those gaps with the proper training and the right strategic approach.

2. Make a Plan of Approach During the peloton, nothing is as important a solid plan to overcome inevitable obstacles. Wind patterns change, riders lose their stamina and opposing teams often breakaway in unexpected patterns. This is why team leaders have a specific drafting and rotation plan in place before cyclist begin, which allows riders to handle any challenge. Project managers know first-hand the importance of strategic planning. Each team needs the right resource management tools in order to plan, budget and forecast unforeseen obstacles. Having a plan in place that integrates project management, resource scheduling and CRM solutions helps project managers find success with any difficult endeavor.

3. Success Often Goes Unrecognized The general public is typically only aware of the team leader--if they know anyone at all--eight other team members go unnoticed. It's these riders, however, who drafted for the lead cyclist and allowed him to save up energy during peak times. Without the support team, victory is impossible. It's the same in project management. Winners share the spotlight and their earnings with their team, but ultimately, teammates do not get the same reward as the team leaders, just as those working on internal tasks may not get praised for work that doesn't directly translate to billings.

As a project manager, maintaining proper utilization rates is important. Internal project work should be recognized and valued equally. Your resource management system should account for this, allowing the right individuals to get the recognition they deserve. The power of the peloton stretches far beyond the world of sports, into the realm of resource management. Observing these riders can help even the most seasoned project managers learn some of the most important and time-tested lessons in the industry. More more thoughts on how you can make the most of your projects, visit us here.

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