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Nfl Superbowl Debacle

In: Business and Management

Submitted By sdnrkr
Words 1290
Pages 6
NFL DEBACLE
Being one the biggest events of a year, Super Bowl is an American football championship game organized by National Football League (NFL). The location of the game is designated by NFL in advance, generally three to five years ago. Although it was one of the days that many Americans had looked forward to, Super Bowl XLV played in Cowboys Stadium Arlington, Texas was a frustration for many people. While 850 people were accommodated in different places, 400 people had to give up their seats.
Today, any kinds of institutions are increasingly utilizing benefits of project management, especially for the projects that involve hundreds of people. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say Super Bowl XLV was one of the events that could have benefited from project management.
As known, project management starts with planning. It sets the goal of the project, emphasizes critical points and provides opportunity to be ready for possible negative outcomes while project proceeds. It works like guidance throughout the project. However, it should be open to revisions because problems faced as project proceeds might require modifications. Also, it should be capable of answering a long list of what-if questions. Essentially, it is the most important step because most of the time failures during the project stem from mistakes made in planning phase. For sure, the mistakes made in Super Bowl XVL case go back to planning stage. It was known that Super Bowl XLV would be played at stadium of Dallas Cowboys years ago. The stadium was built with flexibility of increasing capacity by temporary seats in 2009 and stadium configuration was part of the Host Committee bid approved by NFL four years ago. In addition, Dallas Cowboys hadn’t had host game in last fifty days prior to super bowl. While authorities blame the contractor company, Seating Solutions, the contractor blame uncooperative weather and architecture of the stadium. Because the recent snow storm had caused big ice blocks falling over biggest domed stadium, authorities didn’t allow the employees to enter work site for safety concerns. Safety related interruption of the work had caused employees to work non-stop ,when only few hours is left to the game, without achieving completion of the seats. Even though NFL switched to another company with the hope of finishing temporary seats until game time, they were not successful. These kinds of mistakes occur when risk factors are not taken into consideration during planning phase. Managers could have decreased negative outcomes of surprises to lowest levels defining risk factors, measuring their severity and managing them. Apparently, there was also lack of contingency plan because actions taken were pretty late responses to the situation. Also, it is hard to say the project was under control. In order to gain successful results, the project manager should have permanently kept track of the project. Work status, time analysis and resource used were worth to check throughout the project. If NFL had been monitoring the project regularly, it could have taken preventive actions well before things turned into crisis. Furthermore, temporary seats were the most critical part of the project. They could have been finished them days or maybe weeks ago, taking into consideration the stadium’s availability. It would not make any use to blame architecture or weather because these were not foreseeable problems. Dallas had same weather condition even a year ago and the stadium was not built yesterday. In other words, all these problems were predictable and could have been fixed if the proper scheduling had been made. As Prof. Reyck stated in his paper, critical deliverables of the project should be determined to be able to complete tasks on time. Without being an expert at project management, anybody could know that they were the most prominent milestone of the project.
Super Bowl involves hundreds of people including sponsors, commissioners, safeguards and public employees, such as police department of the state, every year. It might be extremely hard to organize this number of people without proper planning. Using one of the most common operation management software could have helped them to keep everybody on the same page. Also, manager should have made sure there was no missing task before they started developing plan. For example, NFL had not made a contract with ticket sales and distribution company, it could not have sold thousands of tickets to people. Defining buffer times between dependent activities of the project could have fixed problems before things went to uncontrollable point. Under circumstances where there is no enough time, managers have to make trade-off between scope and budget of the project. Taking into consideration the tickets were sold out days ago, the only option was spending more to be able to get the job done but they were too late even for this option.
Doubtless, the picture was not good enough even for the people who reached their seats. All these planning, scheduling and controlling mistakes had caused another failure on the game date. Trying to go in the stadium turned out torture for most people because potential threat of ice blocks on the dome required NFL close four of ten entrances. Ticket scanners could not sustain overload, so people made waited on lines for hours without any explanation. With a little math anybody could see how hard they pushed the resources. This involuntary action caused other entrances to work at more than sixty percent of planned capacity. Again, we need to turn back planning point. It should have known the maximum capacity of each machine and total system. Then the plan should have done considering under capacity conditions. Therefore, in the case of emergency not only electronic devices but also employees would have been able to deal with the situation. Looking at the situation, it is obvious that they haven’t left any flexibility in their planning for unexpected cases.
However, it seems NFL and owner of Cowboys Stadium, Jerry Jones, were deviated from actual goal of their job. Their actual goal was supposed to provide quality service to people who purchased tickets with excitement and hopes of experiencing the Super Bowl spirit. While they were so focused to set new super bowl attendance record, they forgot what actually they should do to reach ultimate goal. What they did look like planning a fancy trip to Hawaii Islands but forgetting to buy flight ticket to go there. I think they did good math while they calculate how much money they would make. Dallas Cowboys stadium caused billion dollars to Jerry Jones. He would not only have its share from total ticket sale but also pay a part his debt to the state with taxes of parking lot tickets. I guess I do not need to mention how much he planned to make from the sales generated in his pizza store chains around the stadium.
In conclusion, all of mistakes made during the organization of Super Bowl XLV are made because of lack of project management skills. I do not know if they ever used any project management tool as the project proceeded. However, the key point is how strong management skills, being aware of responsibilities, increased communication among the participants of the projects through timely reporting system can make a difference. Every year, Hard Rock Café sponsors Rockfest, which serves more than 100,000 people, project managers were ready deal with unanticipated circumstances. Because it involves thousands of people, it is foreseen that music groups could not arrive in concert venue on time because of traffic jam, a helicopter was ready to fly to take them to the concert site. If the project manager of Rockfest could deal with such a big event, NFL should question itself where they did the mistake.

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