Project Management at Utrecht University

Facts

  • Course:  Operations Management (Fundamentals of Business and Economics master program)
  • Stage of study: 2nd year of a master’s program 
  • Number of students: 40 
  • Teaching mode: online/offline

 Learning solution

Introduction to project schedule and resources management

How it was used

  • For preparation, two simple projects were provided to learn game mechanics. By managing these simple projects, students learn how to assign resources, material, and personnel to the project. The simple projects played individually (5-10 minutes) with a short introduction of the critical path method beforehand. The objective of the game is to get the best financial results from a project by completing a network of tasks given the costs of employees, purchased material, and external resources.
  • The main game was played in groups of 3-4 students in one round (25 minutes) with a reflective session after the round and discussing the results. This discussion provides an opportunity for students to reflect on their decisions and recap the learning points.. 

Comments and experiences

The project business simulation game made a memorable learning experience that sticks to the student’s mind. It is an interesting way of keeping students motivated and teach them both simple and challenging concepts of project management. Simulations allow students to experiment with ideas and receive real-time feedback. 

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    Concurrent engineering at University of Agder

    Facts

    • Associate professor Magnus Hellström, University of Agder 
    • Course: IND514-G Project Business and Governance (part of a two year master program in industrial management and economics) 
    • Stage of study: 2nd year of a master’s program 
    • Number of students: 30 
    • Teaching mode: online 

     Learning solution

    Concurrent Engineering

    How it was used

    • The game was played in groups of 3-5 students in three rounds (a 10-20 minutes) with a short introduction before and a short reflective session after each round. 
    • No preparations were required from the students, but they were advised to read an article on managing information flows in a project. 

    Comments and experiences

    Student comment: In the lectures, we learned about concurrent engineering and through the project game we were able to experience the benefit of utilizing concurrent engineering and fast-tracking in through practical simulation of a realistic situation. The results of the game got better for each round and so did of understanding of the phenomenon. 

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      Concurrent engineering

      Learned skills

      Concurrent engineering
      Design structure matrix
      Risk management

      The context for the project is the design and implementation of a plant. The student is expected to complete the project within limited time, which requires that some design activities are executed in parallel. This may cause some problems, which can be mitigated by splitting the civil design task into two subtasks (preliminary and final civil design).

      The student is expected to be familiar with Design Structure Matrix (DSM) or the teacher can introduce DSM during the lecture. In addition, the student will learn how overlapping activities in the design phase may be used to speed up the development. In this particular case, the civil design activity can be split into two activities: preliminary civil design and final civil design. It has significant influence on the schedule because of two reasons: 

      • Preliminary civil design can be started immediately after the basic process engineering is completed (no need to wait for the main equipment purchase) and it is not dependent on detailed plant design (as final civil design activity).  
      • Civil work tendering can also be done after preliminary civil design is done. 

      Learning Goals

      Upon completion of the learning solution the student will be able to  

      • Explain the basic principles of concurrent engineering. 
      • Solve a basic concurrent engineering problem. 
      • Examine a concurrent engineering problem using the design structure matrix. 
      • Devise a solution for managing the risks associated with fast tracking (and concurrent engineering). 

      Skills

      • Concurrent engineering skills​
      • Design structure matrix mastering skills​
      • Risk management of concurrent engineering skills

      Target Group

      Master level or MBA students

      Game duration

      3 X 30 min (three separate/integrated games) 

      Suggested implementation

      Students prepare for the class by familiarizing themselves with concurrent engineering and design structure matrix. During the class, students play three separate but integrated games, which help learn risks related to fast-tracking projects and how they can be mitigated by using concurrent engineering. The game sessions are integrated to other teaching. The learning solution includes all materials required for a 3 hour seminar. The learning solution can be implemented fully on-line or as classroom teaching. 

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        Design, construction and operations of an industrial plant

        Learned skills

        Advanced project management
        Cost management
        Earned value management
        Project planning
        Risk management

        The context of the solution is the position of a project manager in a large international company, which is considering to invest on a plant to produce chemical X for the company’s internal use. But before the project can start, an investment proposal needs to be created and a simulation of the design, construction and operations of the plant for 10 years needs to be implemented to convince the management board about the feasibility of the investment. 

        Learning goals

        • Identify the main cost elements in an industrial investment project. ​
        • Understand the importance of product life-cycle costs and operational expenditure (OPEX) when determining the profitability of an investment. ​
        • Understand different phases and tasks in an industrial investment project. ​
        • Identify and manage typical risks in an industrial investment project. ​
        • Understand the business implications of decisions made during the project

        Skills

        • Advanced project management skills​
        • Project cost management skills (estimation, budgeting)​
        • Project controlling skills (particularly Earned value management skills)​
        • Investment calculation/capital budgeting skills​
        • Industrial investment project planning skills​
        • Project risk management skills

        Target group

        Master level or MBA students

        Game duration

        3 hours

        Suggested implementation

        Group work assignment to prepare an investment proposal, presentation of the proposal & feedback, game session, de-briefing session and/or final report. Can be implemented fully on-line or combined with classroom teaching. 

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          Co-operation with Ludocraft started

          Ludocraft has been selected as a sub-contractor and partner for expert services for the Provo project’s game development. Ludocraft has over 15 years’ experience in creating educational games and the co-operation enables us to provide high quality learning solutions for our pilot projects.

          “LudoCraft is excited to continue the co-operation with University of Oulu and the visionary team of educators and researchers with whom we can develop novel ways of hands-on learning for future professionals. This co-operation joins the forces of domain knowledge experts and game designers, thus, enabling a mutually beneficial approach to educational game development and validation. We expect this project to be one important step on our mission to provide games as solutions.”, concludes Tony Manninen, the CEO of Ludocraft Ltd.

          Provo project starts 1.9.2020

          Business Finland has accepted Research to business funding for Provo project. With Research to Business funding public research organization can prepare the commercialization of research-based idea and carry out applied research which support the commercialization. The project is scheduled to be implemented 1.9.2020 – 28.2.2022