Cheetah Learning Helps Give Insight Into What Managers Can Learn From Brad Pitt’s Success With ‘Moneyball’

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In two short years, Brad Pitt’s “Moneyball” dream went from DOA to Oscar contender. What happened? The Project Management Professionals (PMPs) at Cheetah Learning (http://www.CheetahLearning.com) use “Moneyball” as a case study to help give insight into how techniques developed for Cheetah’s Accelerated Project Management methodology can help salvage a stalled project.

Cheetah Learning’s Accelerated Project Management methodology was created for disaster recovery – that is, to quickly get a floundering project back on track. That’s a capability the Project Management Professionals (PMPs) at Cheetah (http://www.CheetahLearning.com) share as part of their February theme: “Accelerate your Learning . . . Accelerate your Earning.”

Michelle Labraosse, CEO and founder of Cheetah Learning, explains that, “Accelerated Learning techniques are concepts that anyone can learn with some practice and dedication,” adding that, “The basic idea of Accelerated Learning is to gain the ability to make it faster, easier, and perhaps most importantly, more fun, to learn and master new skills.”

The fact is an alarmingly high number of projects fail.

The Standish Group, which began tracking success-fail rates of IT projects back in 1994, has since then regularly published comprehensive reports on the subject. The findings: Fail rates between 15 percent and 40 percent, representing billions of lost dollars.

Most of those failures took place in anonymity. Not so with Brad Pitt’s attempt to transform a non-fiction book about baseball analytics into cinematic drama.

“Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,” the story of a general manager who assembles a baseball team using state-of-the-art analytics, was written by Michael Lewis, who also penned “The Blindside.”

Five years and $10 million into the undertaking, “Moneyball” was shut down, but Pitt would not give up. The project was re-organized, and the budget trimmed, reportedly including Pitt’s salary. New key players were involved. Creative solutions were implemented. (For example, Dodger stadium was used as a location for multiple “road games,” saving time and money.)

With adjustments made, “Moneyball” was filmed. But Pitt wasn’t finished. The actor invested as much passion promoting the movie as he had making it. In the end, “Moneyball” raked in $108,109,965 worldwide and garnered six Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture and, for Pitt, Best Actor.

Although Pitt is not a project manager, he fulfilled aspects of that role in reviving “Moneyball.”

What can professionals learn from this experience? Here are some key points from “Cheetah Project Management, The Fastest Way to Reach Your Goals,” (MAKLAF Press, ISBN-10: 0-9761749-5-2, http://www.CheetahStore.com). They include:

  • Kick off a project the right way from the beginning.
  • Set up a charter so that team members start off on the same page.

Develop relationships that prevent destructive conflict from derailing the project.

  • Define conflicts that could impact performance.

These key points are not limited to making a movie or developing software, explained LaBrosse.

“We all do projects as part of every day life,” she said, “and the more successful we are with those projects, the more successful we are in life.”

Additional information about Cheetah Learning and project management is available by signing up for Cheetah's free PM Skill Builder emails. Signees gain access to Daily Tips, Tools and Deals. For an idea of what to expect, visit http://www.cheetahlearning.com/LinkTracker/track.asp?id=233 or http://www.cheetahlearning.com/LinkTracker/track.asp?id=234, where it’s also possible to sign up.

Those considering Project Management as a career choice, should visit http://www.cheetahlearning.com/LinkTracker/track.asp?id=235 to learn more about becoming a Certified Project Manager as well as request Cheetah Learning's free Exam Prep SmartStart Guide for the PMP.

Cheetah Learning had been documented as having the highest audited continuous pass rate on the PMP exam for 10 years. In 2008, it was recognized by the Project Management Institute (PMI) as Professional Development Provider of the Year.

LaBrosse, a single mother of two, started Cheetah Learning from scratch and grew it into a multi-million dollar powerhouse in the Project Management education field, a competitive arena with 1,600 providers who are PMI registered. Because of her accomplishments, PMI selected LaBrosse as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World.

For more information about Cheetah Learning, call toll (888) 659-2013. Outside the U.S., call (602) 220-1263.

ABOUT: Cheetah Learning is a Project Management Institute Registered Education Provider and is International Association of Continuing Education and Training Certified. Cheetah was awarded the Project Management Institute Professional Development Provider of the Year for 2008 for the significant contribution it made to the field of project management with its accelerated approach to teaching and doing project management.

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