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Data Driven Business Planning for Sports Organizations

5 Rules for an End of Season Review

The beauty of any team sport is there is a start, middle, and end to every season. At the start - clear, in the middle - consistent, and at the end - brutally honest. 

As franchises in the NBA, NHL, and European soccer approach the end of the season it’s often a time for reflection. What worked? What didn’t work? Did we achieve our goals? If not, why?

At Sportsology Group we have a constant daily dialogue with team owners, Presidents, CEO’s, GM’s, and Head Coaches around how to effectively analyze performance and assess outcome. There are usually two strategies after analysis, 1. Purely manage to outcomes, or 2. Understand the nuances of performance and how we ended up at the results we got to adjust accordingly. In our experience balancing both philosophies simultaneously is critical to really understanding ‘what happened?

For all decision makers reflecting on performance and results there are five key rules for effectively accessing the situation and the next (and likely critical) step in the organizations evolution:

1. What were our agreed goals for the season?

2. What dynamics changed - both tangible and intangible - that played a role in affecting outcome?

3. How did we effectively scenario-plan for the potential changes or ‘thunderbolts’ that came our way over the season?

4. How did our key people react real-time to the changes that we had to deal with?

5. As we enter this next phase of planning, do we have the right people and processes in place to effectively handle the challenges we are set to face in the coming 12 months?

The answers to the above will change organization to organization, but the fundamentals of the prism with which you frame the questions invariably stays the same.

In our experiences with elite sports franchises it never ceases to surprise us that question number one, at the start of the off-season or pre-season, remains unclear and undefined across the key people who are expected to drive the outcome. Without a true, agreed ‘North Star’ that has clear measurable and defined outcomes, expect the journey to the moon to be filled with unnecessary turbulence and doubt.


By Darren He


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