UEFA Champions League

History will be made in Cardiff this weekend as Wales plays host to the UEFA Champions League for the first time. Real Madrid and Juventus will go head-to-head at the National Stadium of Wales to battle it out for football’s most prestigious prize.

As thousands of fans descend on the capital, it’s hard to escape the buzz that has taken over the city. A huge blue dragon has been erected above Cardiff Castle, a floating football pitch has surfaced in the Bay, and we’ve even heard rumours of ‘Bale ale’ appearing in city centre pubs.

So, instead of fighting it, we’re embracing it. And, as excitement for the final built up in our Commercial Services offices, we started to draw parallels between the game and some of our project management courses.

There are a surprising number of project management lessons that can be learnt from the UEFA Champions League final this weekend – here are 5 ways in which football teams are much like project teams:

Teamwork trumps star power

Imagine seeing a football game with no passing. For Real Madrid to defeat Juventus this weekend, they won’t just be relying on Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale.

The same goes for project teams. No one person is solely responsible for a successful project. Successful projects become successful because of teams that work in unison to achieve outlined objectives. Our Agile programme is for team members who want to adopt a fast-paced, flexible and collaborative approach to project management, whilst maintaining standards and rigour. It will give your team the tools and techniques required to ensure you score the winning goal.

Play the game well, on and off the field

You would think that during the game, the Real Madrid and Juventus players would only need to worry about striking goals and stopping each other from doing the same. This is not the case. The coach has a huge influence on how the game is played, and then there are the team owners, the media and the fans to think about too.

This also applies to project teams. A successful project extends beyond the team doing a good job – they need to be adept to managing stakeholders within the company and customers. Keeping them updated about the status of projects, potential risks and deadlines is crucial. Our APM programme equips delegates with the technical, organisational and people management skills required for effective project management.

Make use of your players’ skill sets

Great teams are great because they adapt to the skill sets their players bring to the team. There’s a reason why Ronaldo plays in the forward position – and it might have something to do with the fact that he became the first player to score 100 UEFA Champions League goals.

Project teams should do the same. Understand the skill sets that you have within your team and spend some time determining what roles those skill sets would best serve. Our PRINCE2 qualification will provide you with a defined organisation structure for the project management team, ensuring your team are playing in the right positions.

Be susceptible to change

When things don’t go as planned during the game, good coaches are quick to deploy course correction with the right substitutions and a revised game plan. Their teams respond to the situation and step up their game to ensure they still have a chance of winning.

Risk management and being susceptible to change when things don’t quite go to plan is very important when managing projects too. Our Change Management qualification enhances your ability to embrace and successfully manage the impact of change, so your team are able to spot problems early on and revise the strategy quickly and effectively.

Keep your eye on the prize

Every game Real Madrid and Juventus have played during the UEFA Champions League has been building up to this weekend – their aim has been to make it to the final and walk away with the trophy.

You should think of each project you work on as ‘games’ that contribute to the bigger picture – the organisations wider objectives. Our Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) course is a flexible, adaptable approach to project management where a business ‘vision’ is the required outcome. It will help you to coordinate the management of a set of projects to deliver strategic objectives.


Score winning project goals with our project management programmes. Mentioned in this article: Agile, APM, PRINCE2, Change Management and MSP.