Countdown to the 2010 Olympics

Countdown to the 2010 OlympicsI noticed the other day on my local newscast, that the opening ceremony for this year’s Winter Olympics is only a few weeks away. The newscast showed a sports team working together, training to win one of the most coveted prizes in their career. As per Wikipedia, team sport refers to sports where players interact directly and simultaneously to achieve an objective.  When we put this at an Olympic scale, it combines 10,500 competitors from 204 countries. The stakes are high, preparation and training is intense and the cost of failure has tangible and not-so-tangible results. This newscast made me reflect on IJI’s daily interactions with IT teams and I had to conclude that perhaps the similarities are quite strong. Olympic athletic teams, like IT, which includes the study, design, development, implementation, support /management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications, is all about working together to achieve one same goal, either win the medal or in the case of IT have the software work seamlessly within an organization. Both teams consist of individual experts working together for a common goal to be the best. The stakes are high in both cases and the costs are equally high with real tangible dollars tied to wins or failures.
In sports like in IT, without the proper processes, support, communication and people in place, a project/game of any size or importance can fail. In a software development organization the challenges are no different. However, many organizations struggle to bring together the right project team and establish an effective working environment that will breed success for their business.

We often remind our clients that software is developed by people, not by process and tools. Process and tools are important but leaders have to remember that the best processes and tools won’t deliver project success, the team will. And motivating and training them to success is key. Once the appropriate skills and attitudes are identified it’s important to reinforce and support them by constantly monitoring and evaluating usage and ensuring that you continue to foster an environment of new behaviour.

This is only one aspect of ensuring you’re building a winning team. But by beginning to look at key components that will  drive project success, you’ll begin to put your team and software implementation on the path to success – and potentially a gold medal.