Introduction to project schedule and resources management

Learned skills

Critical path
Project planning
Project scheduling
Risk management

In this learning solution the aim is to apply basic project scheduing and resource management techniques to manage a simple project. However, the project is a little bit more challenging to manage as it looks. You will face some risk, which will influence projects progress. You need to make decision how to mitigate risks and prioritize between time, cost and quality. Your task is to control the project and align resources to deliver project on time and within budget.

Learning Goals

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

  • Explain the basic principles of project planning and scheduling. ​
  • Apply critical path analysis to determine project schedule and manage resources accordingly​
  • Understand the importance of project planning decisions in the execution phase. ​
  • Deal with various sources of uncertainty (i.e. weather risk, employee skills, quality and material related problems) that influence project implementation. ​
  • Control the project and align resources to deliver the project on time and within budget​
  • Understand the role of project complexity, uncertainty and time criticality in project management 

Skills

  • Project scheduling skills​
  • Critical path analysis skills​
  • Project planning skills​
  • Risk management skills

Target Group

Bachelor, master level or MBA students (with basic knowledge in project management)​

Game duration

 45 minutes / 2 hours lecture 

Suggested implementation

Students should be familiar with basic project scheduling methods such as critical path method before the class. There are two simple project to learn  game mechanics, after completing those games student can take a challenge to manage a little bit more complex project individually or in small groups, after the game there is a de-briefing session and/or final report. Can be implemented fully on-line or combined with classroom teaching.

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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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        Production line investment project

        Learned skills

        Front-end management
        Project success
        Risk management
        Stakeholder management

        Your task is to design and implement a new production line to manufacture a new product. One of the key tasks is to consider, how deeply and extensively the different stakeholders should be engaged during the early design phase of the production line. The final success of the project is determined based on the total profitability of the investment after five years of operations. 

        Learning goals

        • Evaluate how the decisions made during the project influence the total value of the investment.
        • Understand how the engagement of internal stakeholders and/or early integration of key subcontractors influence project success. ​
        • Identify and manage typical risks in small investment projects. ​
        • •Analyze project success from the perspective of different stakeholders. 

        Skills​

        • Early stakeholder involvement skills​
        • Risk management skills in small investment projects​
        • Project success evaluation skills​
        • Project front-end management skills

        Target group

        Master level or MBA students

        Game duration

        45 min

        Suggested implementation

        Students prepare for the class by playing a simple project business game, so that they are familiar with the game mechanics. They also receive some information about the investment project, which prepares them  for the game. The game is recommended to be played in groups of 2-3 students, so that they can discuss their decisions. After 15 weeks of project activities the game is stopped, and students are asked to give a short report to the management board (teacher) about the status of the project. After this the game continues. In the de-briefing the focus is on analyzing  the decisions made during the project and students can also bring up their real- life experiences of similar situations. The learning solution includes materials for 2-3 hours session. The learning solutions can be implemented fully on-line or as part of classroom teaching. 

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          Building of a town house

          Learned skills

          Earned value management
          Project scheduling
          Risk management

          You are building a town house for yourself and have applied for mortgage for this. It is very important to be able to estimate the situation and progress of the project throughout the project, and manage the risks related to the construction. 

          Learning goals

          • Utilize activity network calculation in the management of the project schedule
          • Estimation of the project progress and application of earned value analysis in the estimation of total cost and time at completion
          • Identify and assess risks and their effects as well as plan risk management responses ​
          • Understand the implications of uncertainty and risks on project schedule and procurement management 
          • Calculate the project budget and understand the importance of contingency planning and management

          Skills​

          • Fundamental project management skills​
          • Project schedule management skills​
          • Earned value management skills​
          • Project risk management skills

          Target group

          Bachelor level students

          Game duration

          60 min

          Suggested implementation

          An individual assignment, in which the students calculate the budget and schedule for the project before playing the game based on the provided information. These estimates are provided at the start of the game and the students are asked to provide also estimates during the game. These calculations can be used as part of the game performance assessment. Game performance is determined by the project duration, total costs and quality level of the town house. The game can be integrated with Moodle and the performance grade is automatically returned to Moodle.  It is suggested that students play the game e.g. twice and the better results is taken into account in assessment. No separate de-briefing session. 

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            Circular Economy

            Learned skills

            HSEQ management
            Project planning
            Risk management
            Stakeholder management
            Sustainability management

            You are working in a company that focuses on the separation and disposal of construction waste. The company is planning to extend its capacity and build a new waste separation production line system, which utilizes latest automation technologies for the waste processing. You have been assigned as the project manager of this project, which includes planning, design and execution tasks. The aim is to execute the project in a sustainable manner – taking into account, economic, ecological and social sustainability in a manner that maximizes the overall profitability of the investment.

            Learning goals

            After playing the game the student is able to

            • Explain the basic principles related to project cost management
            • Make informed decisions that take into account the circular economy perspective
            • Understand the importance of stakeholder engagement and its implications for project performance ​
            • Deal with various sources of uncertainty i.e. weather risk, safety, quality and sustainability related problems) that influence project implementation
            • Control the project and align resources to deliver the project on time and within budget
            • Understand the importance of project planning decisions in the execution and operations phase​

            Skills​

            • Fundamental project management skills​
            • Project sustainability management and circular economy management skills​
            • Project stakeholder management skills​
            • Project uncertainty and risk management skills
            • HSEQ management skills
            • Project planning skills

            Target group

            Bachelor level students

            Game duration

            Approximately 90 minutes

            Suggested implementation

            A group assignment, for which students receive a pre-reading materials that provides them with the basic project information. They need to estimate the investment costs and determine the budget for the project based on the information, as well as conduct an initial risk analysis. After playing the game, the students can engage in a post-game analysis and assess project performance and the impact on the made decisions on it, conduct a detailed risk analysis based on the events they faced in the game, analyse how their decisions affected the circular economy index and provide key learnings. After this, afacilitated discussion on the learnings is then provided by the teachers.

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