Do your recognize these challenges:
- Improving project performance
- Improving team working in projects
- Translating project management theory into practice
What is the current situation?
Still a large percentage of projects fail to realize the required results. Some reports suggest between 70 – 80%, some put it alarmingly higher! All this despite the enormous investment in project management training such as PMI or PRINCE2. This is generally not because of the lack of education or theory, but lack of understanding of how to translate theory into practice, or the lack of the right behaviors within the project team.
Why do projects continually fail? What are some of the key reasons? Our global surveys reveal top issues being: ‘the sponsor role in governing the project’, ‘end-user engagement and involvement’, ‘poor requirements specification and planning’, ‘poor project management discipline, roles and management of scope changes’, ‘lack of project leadership and soft skills’.
An additional strain is put on project management by the drive towards ‘Agile’ practices, giving rise to Agile project management and PRINCE2 Agile. This business simulation can be used to help address the common failures mentioned above, or it can be used to teach people more about Agile Project Management disciplines.
The Challenge of Egypt Scenario
The scenario takes place 4000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Zoser’s pyramid has just been completed; work on the Cheops pyramid has yet to be started. Egypt was one of the most important civilizations of that time, and structures were being built alongside the Nile that would continue to astonish people for millennia to come. How could the Egyptians do this? This cannot be done without proper project management. How are you going to excavate, transport and construct millions of stones and ensure that tens of thousands of people work as efficiently as possible? Obviously that didn’t just happen all by itself. Furthermore, the process was continually subject to the changing demands of the Pharaoh, the weather, diseases, wars etc. project management practices, skills and instruments were required to deal with all of these issues.
The mighty Pharaoh is fighting wars to protect his country. There is a risk he could be fatally wounded at any moment. Just like every Pharaoh he wants to secure his afterlife, and to take his treasures and weapons with him. His good friend, the priest, will take care of the Pharaoh’s requirements and will ensure that a project is set up to construct this magnificent pyramid close to the river Nile. Teams of administrators and quality experts will support the project and guarantee that the Pyramid will secure the Pharaoh’s afterlife. The best project manager in the country will make it all happen.
This one day interactive project management workshop lets participants experience how to apply project management theory in a realistic challenging environment.
The simulation starts with the Pharaoh (played by the game facilitator) who wants to secure his afterlife. He talks to the priest and explains his idea. The priest knows what the Pharaoh wants and will discuss this with the architects in the team. Together they will design a pyramid to meet the needs of the Pharaoh. The priest will show it to the Pharaoh and will indicate the expected costs and when it will be ready. If the Pharaoh is happy, the project manager will then start the detailed planning stage. He will work together with the Quarry team, the Nile team and the Construction team. The Nile team is a supplier and is happy to offer his boats to ship the stones from the Quarry to the Construction area.
Based on the specific knowledge of the teams and the amount of workers and boats they have, they can calculate a realistic pricing and timing. The project administration will also prepare the tools to manage and monitor the project. In parallel to this, the Risk manager will perform a risk analysis to determine the risks and define counter measures to avoid or minimize them. The project manager is able to show the project plan to the Pharaoh. If he agrees, there is a go and the team will start the project. After a well-organized kick off, the team will execute 3 project stages. In each stage they will have to execute the work and deal with all kinds of realistic issues:
- requests for changes;
- new requirements and scope changes;
- Meetings with the customer.
Between the stages, the team will reflect on how well the project is going. How effective are their project management practices? They will identify and agree improvements. After implementing these improvements, the team will start the next stage. At the end of the project the team will execute a lessons learned session to capture all learning outcomes and define a take-away-action-plan.