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Want to Build a Stronger Tech Team? Look to Your Fantasy League.

Managing engineers and IT pros takes a special blend of expertise, smarts and leadership skills. But you don’t have to look far for some inspiration on leading your team to better efficiency and morale — no matter the season. Learn how the strategies that make your fantasy roster unbeatable can help you build a stronger, faster and more cohesive team at work.

Lesson 1: Whip your metrics into shape

Fantasy baseball scoring uses the same statistics as baseball analysts to rate pitcher performance, including Earned Run Average (ERA), strikeouts and wins. But ERA, used to describe a pitcher’s effectiveness, doesn’t get to the heart of what makes one pitcher more efficient than another: preventing batters from getting to base.

Rather than accept the limitations of ERA, the pioneers of fantasy sports invented a new statistic, Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched (WHIP), for a more complete picture (see below).

Track and report the information that really impacts your team. If you follow how much time helpdesk employees spend per ticket or evaluate engineers on how quickly they produce code, make sure that other critical statistics, like first-call error resolution rates and bugs, are considered, too. These statistics help your team get necessary resources and improve performance in meaningful ways.

Key takeaway:

You need metrics. If your company doesn’t track the information you need to identify real strengths and problems, find a way to get it.

Lesson 2: You can't force your best talent to stay.

But you can handcuff them.

Congratulations – you drafted this season’s hottest running back in your fantasy football draft! How do you insure your lucky acquisition? Many fantasy experts recommend ‘handcuffing’ your pick by selecting his NFL backup in a later round. A team that relies on a star running back will still need a strong running game if the first back is injured, so the backup should get a lot of carries.

It’s good to plan in case your top talent chooses to leave your company. Talented engineers with in-demand skills have opportunities in even lukewarm job markets. Make training and learning opportunities team priorities so junior employees will be ready to assume more responsibility if needed.

Key takeaway:

Great engineers are easy to lose and hard to replace. Have a backup strategy.

Lesson 3: Top scorers are exciting.

Players with good stats in a lot of categories win fantasy leagues.

It’s easy to get excited about flashy scoring, but offense- driven strategy is half the battle in fantasy basketball. Teams anchored by players with respectable numbers across categories, rather than phenomenal performance in a single aspect of the game, are more likely to succeed over the course of a season. Focusing on a broader set of stats also helps you identify good fantasy players that other team managers overlook.

You can get more from your team when employees are cross-trained to work on a wide variety of projects. Encourage employees to learn new skills; it’s great for career-building and prevents costly delays if a key player takes leave or needs support to meet a tight deadline.

Key takeaway:

Well-rounded employees can prove to be even more helpful than specialists over time.

Lesson 4: A good draft is a great place to start.

But a lot can change over 82 games.

Whether your fantasy hockey league requires lineups to be set weekly or daily, keeping up with stats and injuries helps you recognize opportunities throughout the long season. And that takes commitment far beyond preparing for the draft.

When your team accomplishes a lot, it’s easy to focus on just the next project and deadline. Don’t forget to check in with employees regularly and get feedback on progress and workload. When you know which team members are working overtime to keep up, you can reallocate resources and manage potential problems before they derail plans.

Key takeaway:

Even with great talent, success isn’t a given. Check in and make adjustments frequently.

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