An Analytics Approach to Selecting a New Manager

Play It Safe or Innovate? Halfway through the new season, a renowned UK football team was underperforming. The team ownership and CEO wanted to take a more objective view in determining how a change of manager might affect long-term team performance.

Hiring a head coach or general manager is one of the most important decisions a club can make, and the club wanted to help avoid replicating previous “safe” decisions which would only impact results in the short-term.

Confident in their players, the club wanted to find a manager who could avoid relegation, and eventually guide the club to promotion within constraints of budget, recruitment plan, and playing philosophy

Groundbreaking Analytics Supportive of Speed

Kitman Labs began working with the CEO and Director of Football to gain an understanding of the key characteristics which the team believed a manager needed to be successful at their unique club. Together, the teams launched an analytics-based search for a new manager.

The Kitman Labs team ran analysis across multiple leagues globally to identify an initial list of managers who would not only fit the philosophical approach required, but also those who were high-caliber candidates who consistently had a positive impact on the performance of the clubs they had previously led.

The time savings of the analysis were significant, as the team could more quickly see the managers they didn’t want.

The club identified a short list of 10-15 candidates, all of whom were interviewed with the inclusion of questions designed by Kitman Labs Performance Experts to elicit an objective and consistent means of assessment. Topics covered everything from style of play to tenure to consistency.

The entire process was complete within three weeks, from the club’s initial request to assess possible replacements, to the formal selection of a new manager.

“Without Kitman Labs’ help, we would have been sucked into a poor, short-term manager decision.”

– Team CEO

Thoughtful Progression

The story from this European football club reflects Kitman Labs’ deeply held view of the right role of analytics: supporting organizations in their objective decision-making by providing insights they can use to multiply their own experience and unique insights. A thoughtful filtering methodology eliminated from the pool of possible managers those who were relatively higher ranked, but less of a cultural fit.

Kitman Labs continues to further refine its analytics framework to manager selection, and recently completed a process from initial request to short list of candidates within 24 hours.

Winning Path Back to the Top

After hiring the new manager, and without significant changes to players or principles of play, the team embarked on an unbeaten run from the relegation zone to their league’s top 5, resulting in significant commercial benefits.

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Without Kitman Labs’ help, we would have been sucked into a poor, short-term manager decision.
-Team CEO


Outcome Stories

Oakland Roots

From Siloed to a Single View

Data was never a problem for Oakland Roots SC. But stuck with outdated spreadsheet tools and inundated with data, they weren’t able to efficiently share or learn from anything they collected. Kitman Labs gave them a consolidated view that joined together everything from practice planning to player development, giving them objective scores and ratings, and bringing together medical, technical and performance data under one roof.

Burnley F.C.

Driving Organizational Efficiency

Burnley F.C. has always seen data and tech as especially critical in the world of football, so they understand that the organizational structure around data is as important as the data itself. With Kitman Labs, Burnley has been able to create efficiency in all their departments, from sports science to recruitment and coaching, and to bring those departments together with a single view of data across the organization.

Malmö FF

Future Proofing the Organization

Malmo FF has been around for over 100 years, but their focus remains steadily on the future. Their player management tools had limited scope and capabilities, meaning they couldn’t be as forward-thinking as they needed to drive success. Switching to Kitman Labs gave them a platform that allowed information to be shared openly and the customization to plan and change as they need to, truly future-proofing their organization.

BK Häcken

Aiding Growth with Communication

BK Hacken has been one of Sweden’s most prominent football clubs for over 80 years, but as they moved into the present day, they found that data was increasingly getting lost through gaps in communication. Integrating Kitman Labs across the organization allowed the club to learn and share from a single view, enhancing communication from the Academy through to the first team, and simplifying the entire data-sharing process.