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What soccer taught me about project management

Sometimes, when you're in the thick of it, clear-headedness is really hard to come by.

I was in a game recently, making one wild shot after another. The pressure was on, and I forgot all about strategy, best practices, and even aiming for the net! I was simply reacting, and very poorly at that. What a mess.

While taking a breather on the bench, a recent engagement came to mind, one with a similar frantic pace and reactivity. It was then that I realized what both were missing—a pause button.

Sometimes, you need to slow things down. This may sound counter-intuitive (both in project management AND soccer!), but when everything is blowing up around you, it's easy lose sight of your strategy and objectives. Even if—especially if—this frantic pace is being driven by the client.

And so, you pause. Take a breath and survey the landscape. Have your teammates and clients do the same. Stop, and think. This is why you get paid the big bucks—not to mindlessly get things done, but to make sure the right things get done. So, take a minute to get everyone on the same page and back on track.

Then push forward. And hopefully, nail that sucker.