Have you ever seen your favorite team ahead of their opponent by 20 or 30 points in the NBA Playoffs, get comfortable with the lead and end up losing a crucial game? This isn’t just a common mistake for professional teams; it’s common in start-ups as well.
During the execution of the start-up, the project team may get caught up in the excitement of positive initial progress and commit the system to significant production before it is ready. Early on, the results can be great, but if you lose the discipline, just like in an intense game, you may underestimate each step of the plan and find yourself trying to catch up at the end.
If you look at it in its most basic state, the two really do have much more in common than you may think. In this blog, five strategies both start-up and NBA teams can use to ensure success are highlighted below.
1. Include all parties that impact the outcome.
Just as a NBA player listens to and respects his coach and training staff, every start-up team should value all the parties involved that help make the outcome a success. From plant engineering, operations and maintenance to corporate engineering, quality and marketing, everyone who touches the project needs a voice. It’s the best way to prevent unwelcome surprises and setbacks.
2. Select a leader that can delegate.
No NBA team can function with just one player – well maybe sometimes, but for the most part, they cannot win championships without delegating some responsibility. The same is true for a start-up team. By selecting a leader that can 'assist' and avoid being a 'ball hog', he/she can take responsibility of the entire start-up and ensure end-to-end care of the effort.
3. Build and study the strategy.
Before each game, a NBA team studies their opponent and creates a strategy to defeat them. To accomplish the same in a start-up, the project team must collectively identify the critical success factors and develop a plan. Since training can also make or break a start-up, the ‘playbook’ should include a very comprehensive training plan. Remember – practicing the plays ahead of time will help you prepare your team for game day.
Have you ever been hit by a screen unexpectedly because your teammate didn’t communicate beforehand? If not, have you received a surprise request from Quality Control, Research and Development or Marketing you weren’t anticipating due to poor communication? Just as game tempo constantly changes, a start-up is a dynamic environment with changing conditions as well. If the team members don’t communicate frequently, the whole team can suffer.
5. Keep score and celebrate wins.
As you may know, in order to win the NBA Finals, a team must win five out of seven games. The winning team celebrates each win throughout the series while still preparing for the next game. Just like basketball, each win is important and project teams should celebrate milestones to continually boost team morale. Not only do you celebrate, reward your team and 'MVPs' for a job well done.
Although it initially may have seemed to be a stretch to compare the NBA Finals to commissioning and start-up, once you identify some commonalities, the two really do have a lot in common. If you would like to learn about how you can use these strategies in greater detail, please feel free to contact us with manufacturing consulting questions.
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|San Antonio Spurs|