SMART FIFA World Cup 2018



By Mark Reeson

United Kingdom


As always, it seems to have taken forever for the FIFA World Cup to have arrived but when it has we have all become absorbed by what it takes to get through the qualifying groups and then what route it will take to make it to the final.

However, let’s take one step back and consider what has happened before a ball has even been kicked and the achievement, for the sake of this paper, that England have made and are then set to continue with through the tournament.

For those of you that don’t want to use England as your example, please substitute the team of your choice and then you simply have to adapt the path as we work our way towards tournament glory and the ultimate achievement.  Let me just return though to what I just said, and just consider for one moment, what we have already achieved, a seat at the table of the world’s biggest game with thirty-one other teams all trying to compete for the same prize as England.

Yes, just consider it, because although you will always find the doom and gloom merchants of those saying England can’t do this and England won’t so that, I can think of a number of nations, such as Holland, Italy and the United States of America that would swap places with us right now, as they never received the invitation.

The SMART FIFA Strategy of every single Project Team!

So, we are down to the last thirty-two and from that the first thing we have to consider is the size and scale of the project before us.  Well, there are eight groups of four teams and inside the group we have to play each team once.  To put that into perspective now, by qualifying, England, like every other team, is now only seven matches away from winning the tournament.  Sounds simple really, but as we know and have seen through the suffering for many tournaments, there seems to a rule, if you are not German you can’t win.

So, how can we make that change count this time?

Well, having taken the matches into account, England now have the prospect of three weeks in Russia with a number of long haul flights, balanced between the training sessions and of course the small matter of playing the matches.

Prior to arrival, the management team underwent a long sustained thought process to design the right strategy for preparation.  Yes, the strategy was for preparation, not just to win the tournament, there is so much more that goes into event management and tournament management than simply playing the right games at the right time.

England’s choice of warm up matches weren’t simply an exercise in keeping the team fit, playing against Nigeria and Costa Rica was a result of the draw that had placed them into Group G, with their three opponents, Tunisia, Panama and a well versed friend in Belgium.  It was by choosing the stranger opponents in the warm-up matches that allowed England the flavour of what might come when playing teams from nations that typically they wouldn’t compete against on a regular basis.  

Two pre-tournament matches played and two more sets of lessons learned into the knowledge management box of tools and so it was off to Russia and the chance of becoming national heroes and making history.


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Editor’s note: Now it is the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup that began in Russia in June and England is still alive.  However the individual teams do, the points in this article should survive long after the 2018 World Cup is concluded.

How to cite this article: Reeson, M. (2018). The SMART FIFA World Cup 2018; PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue VI – July.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/pmwj72-Jul2018-Reeson-SMART-fifa-world-cup-2018-commentay.pdf

About the Author

Mark Reeson, RPP, FAPM, PMP

United Kingdom


Professor Mark Reeson
is a project management specialist with over thirty years’ experience.  A Fellow of the Association for Project Management, he has been involved in many project and programme consultative roles.   Most recently Mark has been working with the Saudi Arabian Municipality of the Eastern Province to change the way that project management is carried out within the region, using his newly recognised SMART Sustainability Modelling for project and business management.

He was appointed a Professor of Project Management at the University of Business and Technology, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which was a culmination of his work in training and consulting in the region on matters that relate to project management, supply chain management and sustainability modelling.  Having previously held the position of a specialist Sustainability Management Global Advisor, he has moved forward from that position and now regularly supports businesses and projects alike in streamlining their approaches to change and strategic development providing greater longevity in their business planning.

Having started his career in the Royal Air Force, Mark has continued to develop by working and delivering projects in multiple fields of industry ranging from the nuclear environment, into pharmaceuticals, finance and also the international sporting fields.

Mark has developed his role within project management through further experience with the nuclear industry and is now the owner of M R Project Solutions Limited where he has fulfilled the role of Project Management Advisor for the last three and a half years covering every continent.  His role is very much client facing and Mark now almost permanently travels the world meeting clients, developing solutions and providing training for their project families either directly through his own organisation or in support of others.  Mark’s main role is the development and the consultation with many organisations on ensuring they choose the right approach or methodology to deliver their projects and then follows this up with the correct bespoke training programmes for how their company wants to share this learning with their staff members.

Mark has changed the approach to learning by the ongoing development of his original ‘Living Learning’ programme by introducing a new learning experience for all taking the classroom format and making it come to life with his popular and original ‘Applied Learning’ simulation training and coaching technique.  He has taken this forward over the past few years to introduce this training style so that project management learning and behaviour has now started to be delivered into the schools and colleges looking to develop the technical, behavioural and contextual skills and attitudes of their students.

As a regular public speaker Mark now shares his experience, knowledge and commitment with those associations wanting to move forward in a more sustainable and successful manner.

Mark’s next aim is to develop this further and to spread project management knowledge and competency to many more organisations worldwide, having already started with successful deliveries globally.

Mark can be contacted at [email protected]