Today’s challenging environment has necessitated a hard look into education, methods of training and the way we work. Students and professionals who are looking to build their careers in project management face a number of learning challenges like the lack of deeper interactions with peers, a distracted online world and the diminishing opportunities to put their knowledge into action.
Project management games and simulations have been effectively used to counter these challenges. Let’s explore some major challenges for project management students and professionals.
Conceptual learning alone is not sufficient to gain skills
Understanding project management knowledge areas like scheduling, budgeting and risk management is necessary but not sufficient to gain real-life project management skills. A project manager is constantly battling to balance competing priorities and objectives. As David Klob’s outlines in his Experiential Learning Theory a holistic perspective to learning includes experience, perception, cognition and behavior.
Integrating all aspects of the learning cycle helps the student in their learning journey. Apprenticeships and internships have been effective in filling this gap between theory and practice. But not every student gets the right opportunities to fully deploy their knowledge. Simulation is a cost effective tool to immerse a student in a real life project team.
Individuals make up a team and teams deliver outcomes
Projects are delivered by a team. Where there is a group of people, there is conflict, dysfunction, individual challenges and team dynamics to navigate. There seems to be an increased emphasis on coaching teams into sustainable high performing units. Team dysfunction is often sighted as the cause for failed projects. Teams excel though shared goals, a strong sense of accountability and collaborative working environments.
It is hard to simulate such team dynamics in a classroom setting. Simulations that incorporate team dynamics and role-play situations can help students experience the full spectrum of factors within the context of their work.
Agile is embedded into the culture of the workplace
Over the last two decades, agile has become an integral part of how teams work. It’s engraved into the culture of organizations. Even though agile concepts are simple, they are not easy to implement. Young students who have not experienced an agile team in action need real life experiences to imbibe agile values and principles. Tools like a Scrum game or an agile simulation have been seen as a mechanism to build the agile muscle. Agile is also penetrating into non-IT areas like marketing and HR. These professionals have a need to learn agile concepts within the context of their work. A Scrum simulation can be a nice introduction for such non-IT groups.
An immersive learning environment like a simulation can serve multiple needs of students, professionals and instructors.
Simulation Powered Learning creates real-life project management and agile scrum simulation to help trainers and professionals enhance their learning experience. Two flagship simulations are SimProject: where the user role-plays a project manager and SimAgile: where the user gets to experience an agile team in action.