Saturday, July 04, 2009

Swimming World: "...Professional Swim League has never made more sense than now!"

From Swimming World: A pro league would not only be a lot of fun, it would extract FINA from a horrible quagmire it meandered into:

"... Create a Professional Swim League, and a new aquatic industry will be born.

Just as snowboarding was born out of skiing and then was launched into the X Games, so could a Professional Swim League evolve. We have a responsibility to create an environment that attracts new products and companies into the aquatic family. If we encourage new product growth within a pro league, then advertising and sponsorship dollars would surely carry over into funding pure, traditional competitions.

To limit technology in order to preserve a sport is to limit the growth of an industry. By creating an entirely new racing environment, FINA's world records would remain pure within the Olympic movement, and a new industry would be born.

The time has come to split the pie and make two. ..." -- Brent Rutemiller


A lot of people are talking about starting a pro-league, including me, but everyone is just talking, including me, and ultimately just doing nothing, including me!

So I am going to submit an ad hoc road map for a Pro Swim League which I wish I could take credit for, but in reality, these are simple project management tasks that I found here-and-there in project management explanations during a Google search:

0) A mission statement

Example: To land a man on the moon and return him to earth safely by the end of the decade. -- President John F. Kennedy

1) Define the Scope

Budget, operational talent, space, equipment, all of the above from "zero to hero!"

2) Define a Timeline

There will be many timelines within the project but a solid date and venue would really put an impetus on getting it done.

3) Assemble the Project Team

"I's got skillz" - technical experts, operational experts, PR & marketing ninjas, etc.

4) The Project Team Defines all the Necessary Milestones

This includes both the big stuff like, securing the venue and fireworks show, to supplying cookies and milk for the timers.

5) Develop a Baseline Plan

The project leader takes the milestones above and assembles all the necessary milestones in subsequent order. Such as: who is responsible for each step and when are they getting it done. resubmits to the experts for tweaking and finally forms the baseline plan

6) Execute the Plan - Monitor the progression, meet and talk about it, and document everything!

Also, note, have a "Plan-B" , "Plan-C" , and "Plan D" for every milestone execution in case something goes wrong. Especially for the stuff that could not possibly go wrong. The stuff that may go wrong is generally easy to fix. The stuff that can't possibly go wrong is generally really hard to fix.

Steps 1-5 could be developed without a budget if the professionals in steps 3-5 volunteered or deferred their pay. I would be willing to volunteer.

Once a team has a really straight-forward budget in place, plans that include operations, marketing, public relations, television, web, etc., etc., I think money would be easy to find.

Here is a thought, how about the FINA fork up some money as penance for the trouble they have caused.

Other funding sources include suit companies who would provide the teams, then the usual sports media outlets could be considered, of course the casinos, and finally the fans who want to sit in the stands or watch it on pay-per-view.

The person who should project manage this bold idea should be someone with event management experience but a person who does not have event management experience could still do a good job if one of the experts they pick had event management experience.

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