Saturday, September 6, 2008

Can we see that again?

To your left, you see a nice photo of a friendly "discussion" between a baseball player and the umpire (the equivalent of a referee or 'official'). The two are likely not talking about the weather, their hobbies, or the latest fashion trends. No, they're most likely 'discussing' a slight difference of opinion over where a ball landed, such as whether it landed in fair or foul territory, or whether or not it cleared a line indicating that it was a home run. You don't need to be a baseball fan to know that there is sometimes controversy in sport. And, looking at the picture, you can tell that the result of a missed call can result in some, let us say, heated discussions.

Whatever our favorite sport, or, even if we don't particularly care for sports, we all can gain a bit of wisdom by observing what has recently happened with the introduction of "instant replay" in baseball.

I was actually going to blog about this, but someone - Kent McDonald, in particular, beat me to the punch. So, in the spirit of Web 2.0, I will simply point you to his short but powerful piece which teaches a few quick lessons in project management that come from the way that this new technology was introduced just a few days ago into Major League Baseball. I realize that baseball is not a global sport, but bear with the story, it has some nice takeaways.

One in particular is the setting of milestones. Don't let ego be the driver when it comes to setting miletones. Set them based on the natural flow of things, such as your customers' requirements, or ends of natural cycles (like the end of a fiscal quarter). In this case, why in the world would Major League Baseball experiment with a rules change at a time of the season just before the playoffs - when it could change the course of results at an extremely meaningful time? Why wouldn't they introduce it - since it is admittedly an experiment - at the beginning of a season? I think it's because someone in power had it in their heads that they were going to do it this year, period, and by getting it done by the end of August, they were still technically in 2008...

In any case, I don't want to steal Kent's thunder - have a look at his very nice article...


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