Top five resource management strategies for England in the World Cup

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I’d love to know how Gareth Southgate tackles resource management. Is he a whiteboard man, or does he rely on a notepad and post-it notes? I hope that neither is the case, and that he is using high-level resource planning software to keep track of everyone and everything as England’s World Cup campaign continues.

My English colleagues hope that England is playing to win; that it has confidently mapped out a march to victory, with hotels booked right up to the tournament’s end and a bus scheduled for a victory lap of London on the team’s triumphant return. No matter what probability says about their chances of lifting the trophy, Southgate and his entourage must have a fluid plan that caters for myriad eventualities.

Resource management software could help him set a flexible plan, creating an overview of the big picture and a means to drill down into the detail, such as each individual’s tasks. It would provide an excellent way to handle the logistic operation of having the right people and things in the right place at the right time, utilised optimally. Of course, when circumstances change, it would also facilitate the ‘adopt, adapt and improve’ approach, meaning that the plan could be altered in real-time, and that everyone who needs to be aware of the changes would be informed.

When you take it down to the basic requirement of getting stuff done efficiently, on time and in budget, there aren’t that many differences between resource planning in a business and managing a World Cup team. The number one benefit of using high-level resource planning software when you are the leader of a team in any context is that it makes it easier to collaborate, fostering effective leadership and teamwork.

With that in mind, I’ve reflected on the principles of successful resource planning that could be applied by Southgate in the coming week (or two!):

Top 5 resource management strategies for England

1.   Be your own pundit

As well as keeping players fit and feisty, Southgate must ensure that his young, inexperienced squad is working together in harmony, communicating well both on and off the field. Fiery tempers must be tamed, club conflicts and personality clashes set aside. Mistakes like under or over utilisation of players must be scrutinised, and the plan refreshed, so that each player is always putting his best foot forward. The whole team must have a clear overview of broad brushstroke tactics, and also a firm grasp on the precise role that they play as a cog in a well-oiled machine. Giving everyone access to a visual, interactive, collaborative tool would create transparency and enhance communication between the management and players.

2.   Play keepy uppie planning

A goal without a plan is just a wish, someone said, and this is very true in football. Not only is it hard to develop an initial strategic plan to win games and score the maximum goals - that plan is subject to constant change. It has to be kept in the air to some degree, as red cards, injuries, changing formations and dodgy referees intervene. England’s management team must not get hung up on a single, dogged approach, come what may. Using a flexible planning tool, they could adapt to unforeseeable curve-balls and optimise the utilisation of players continually.

3.    Win the penalty lottery

There should never be a need for ‘a wing and a prayer’ in world-class football, although when it comes to penalty shoot outs, wishful thinking has historically been the primary artillery at the disposal of the England team. For this tournament to be any different to heart-breaking predecessors (since 1966), the team must consider every nuance of potentially treacherous events. With the benefit of foresight, effective planning and clear communication, Southgate can make sound decisions in ‘pressure cooker’ penalty situations on issues such as whether to bring on subs; change the keeper; or use the most confident penalty takers first in the line-up.

4.   Give 100 per cent - or thereabouts

The pundits would have you believe that it is possible for a player to contribute by applying 110 per cent of effort to the game. Rather than attempting to achieve the mathematically impossible, it is nonetheless important to get the right balance with resource utilisation, especially where a star player is concerned. Over using their presence on the pitch runs the risk of burnout, while under-playing them may mean they don’t get the chance to shine. Using resource management software would help Southgate analyse utilisation percentages and make informed decisions about when to deploy natural goal-scorer Kane, or an exciting player like Rashford.

5.   Make sure the team’s on song

Whether they are a veteran of big tournaments or a newcomer to a national side, football players generally prefer being on the pitch than sitting still listening to their manager pore over stats about their performance. Using resource planning software, the England boss could create clear, detailed visual reports that communicate the headlines of the campaign to date – goals scored, players’ utilisation percentages, yellow and red cards issued, penalties scored, tackles missed, and so on. This information, presented clearly, can be used to help players quickly identify their areas of weakness and opportunities for improvement. For management, visualising data in this way could inform and strengthen tactical decisions.

Resource planning for success

Whether you’re running a football team, an engineering firm, a creative agency or a multinational software development business, the principles of successful resource management are pretty much the same:

Make a plan - schedule resources, tasks and projects; Collaborate effectively, encouraging team members to play their part; Expect the plan to change and revise it accordingly; Continually optimise resources to get things done on time and in budget; Reach your goals in the smartest way possible… “Back of the net!”

Rainer Kivimaa, co-founder, Ganttic
Image Credit: B-lay