After an epic trip back from Denver last month (Thanks United!) I had the privilege of sitting next to Timmy Duggan. He was polite enough to initiate a conversation and I learned he was a pro cyclist.
After a discussion of the finer points of cycling, I soon made the connections of the similarities in pro cycling to Service Management.
Optimizing Outcomes with Team Roles
There are multiple roles in each of these teams. We’ve all seen the stars at the front of a race, the Sporting directors who ride in the team cars and help guide the team to success. Of course there are the various riders on the team who do the hard work. Sprinters. Climbers. All rounders. And of course the mechanics who keep the bikes ready, the chefs who keep the team at their optimum, even sports psychologists.
Consistency Under Pressure with Processes and Procedures
They have an overall game plan – a strategy for race day. As the event unfolds they watch teams differently depending on who’s leading and attacking. At different stages of the day they have plans – when to be on the attack, when to be watching, and when to be resting.
There are procedures for major incidents – such as a crash or flat tire. And templates for standard activities – drafting in the team trial or leading the peloton in a side wind.
Measuring Performance with KPIs
How do they keep themselves at the top and ready for elite competition? Training. Now their training is as technical as any sport. High altitude to improve blood handling of low oxygen. High oxygen sprints to exercise at high work outputs. Training behind a moped to familiarize pace while drafting.
With watt meters to measure power output, cadence meters to track the pedal turns and heart rate monitors to stay in the zone all tracked on bluetooth cycle computers – a modern cyclist looks more like a server being monitored.
Results Speak Volumes
And if you’re not sure about the results – take a look at this.
- As a Cannondale Liquigas rider, Peter Sagan won all 4 of Amgen Tour of California
- How did he get there? The planned, coordinated, hard work of Timmy Duggan.
If cyclists are this organized, then so should we be in IT Service Management.
- Achieve consistent service delivery use processes to “Just Go Harder” on the straights
- Align with business needs use governance to slow down for the bends.