The 13th Man – what tech organizations can learn from sports performance analytics

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I am stoic believer in the “12th man” – the notion that fans of an eleven-a-side sports team can tip the scales in their team’s favour with fervent support. That when the players’ legs are heavy, and their backs are against the wall, that our unwavering chanting, cheering and drumming can create a cauldron of noise that galvanizes and inspires the team to victory.

Take West Ham, my English football (“soccer”) team, for example. It’s May 2016, our last ever game at the Boleyn Ground, our historic home for over a century. We want to say an emotional goodbye to our beloved stadium with an iconic victory over Manchester United, one of the biggest and richest clubs in the world.

Despite going 1-0 up after ten minutes, we found ourselves 2-1 down with 18 minutes to go. It could’ve been so easy, and even understandable, for the players to crumble under the pressure, to melt under the magnitude of the occasion. The players’ heads could’ve dropped, and the fans could’ve fallen into a grieving silence. But we didn’t; our response was to roar the team back to life.

Just four minutes later, we’re level again. And four minutes after that equalizing goal, we’re in the lead…3-2 to the Hammers! At this point, all the home fans and players are one. As we defended for our lives, every tackle and clearance was celebrated as if it were a goal.

Hell, it felt like we  – the fans – were making those last ditch sliding tackles, those goal line clearances. That we were on the field, on that oh so beautiful hallowed turf, spurring our heroes on. Side by side, fans and players working together to ensure the Boleyn Ground’s legacy would forever be associated with victory.

You can see goose bump-inducing highlights below:

Yes, the 12th man is very real. Yet that year, the 12th man only got us to 7th in the league. Leicester City, on the other hand, had something even more special. Sure, the Foxes have a fantastic fan base that certainly played a big role in their historic 2015/2016 season, but they also possessed the 13th man; sports performance analytics. And arguably it was this extra “player” that gave them the edge in their famous Premier League title win that season.

In her latest article How sports performance analytics can help technology organizations win the game, Dominica DeGrandis digs into how Leicester defied 5000-1 odds through clever use of performance analytics, and explains what technology organizations can learn from the story to turn the odds in their favour.

If you want to know more about how Tasktop can help you collect real-time data across your software delivery value to glean powerful insights to improve your IT performance, speak to one of our experts today.