Monday, April 30, 2012

Do the Steelers have a strategy?

With the NFL draft weekend coming to a close, I thought it was interesting to see how NFL teams, particularly the Steelers, strategize for their picks.  I was wanted to see if their strategy aligned with The Future of Strategy segment in the article “Should You Build Strategy Like You Build Software?”. 

According to the article “Reviewing the Pittsburgh Steelers’ NFL Draft Strategy”, the Steelers have their own unique approach to strategy, where they use their own judgment in players instead of using that of the rest of the NFL.  It also claims that their strategy is usually unpredictable. Below is how well they adhere to the future of strategy making:

“Start small and iterate from there”
The Steelers create a 150-player draft board, which is considered to be small, for their own specifications.  It is solely based on their own judgment, and they use their needs to strategically pick their players.

“Get something into people’s hands quickly”
 As stated above, the Steelers strategy is typically unpredictable.  They do have their fundamental set of strategic assumptions, which is stated below in meeting their needs and fitting their system.

“Get people to work together”
With the Rooneys, Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and several other key stakeholders involved in the decision making, the Steelers successfully have both the “thinkers” and “doers” involved in their strategic process.   Having both management and coaching staff involved is key for the process.

“Integrate the best ideas available”
The Steelers are sometimes negatively accused of using a “best players available at positions of need” approach, selecting players who “met their needs and fit their system”.  Other teams who typically pick players who are a sure thing.  However, history shows that this strategy tends to produce “more hits than misses”.

“Debug as you go”
Since the draft is always unpredictable and the Steelers picked late in the rounds, they’re aware of the need to refine and reshape their strategy as the draft proceeds.  They have their ideas together, but need much flexibility as the draft proceeds.


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