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SimProject®, is a PMI award winning online project management learning simulation used by many academic institutions and training organizations around the world as part of their project management curriculum. SimProjectStudents plan and manage an 11 week, 7 task project from start to finish juggling scope, schedule, cost, quality and individual/team productivity. Simulated stakeholders and team members add the human dimension that is missing from simple case studies. SimProject can be given as standalone home work for students (individual or teams), or utilized as a classroom (physical or virtual) activity. If used in a team setting three students share a single SimProject license and make decisions as a team.

SimProject is also available as part of our Project Management Fundamentals SPL 2 days class.

“I used the online SimProject in our MBA Project Management course. Repeatedly, students experience “aha!” moments when they experience the impacts of their decisions on the project’s time, cost, and quality results. I cannot overstate the importance of this simulation in their learning. Prior to using the simulation, students’ contributions to class discussions are often generic and theoretical. Once they’ve delved into the simulation, they begin to speak as if they were a project manager and focused their discussion on specific issues. For example, they understand the importance of stakeholder communication. However, when they overlook a communication opportunity and suffer the inevitable consequence, they really get it. I can see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices, and read it in their subsequent work. There are many such examples, where the simulation affords students an effective means to achieve a deeper level of learning.”
– Professor Laurie Schatzberg of the University of New Mexico


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Students learn project management as they run a decision-driven simulation comprised of real-life people, a real-life company, a real-life project, and the daily challenges encountered on any real project. Students must navigate challenges like schedule, scope, staffing, and ongoing interactions with difficult team members and politically motivated stakeholders. Students will finish with more confidence in both planning and managing projects and people using all the fundamental tools. For additional learning students can run the simulation a second time as they avoid previous mistakes and further develop their project management skills.

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Academic Individual Use, Academic Team Only Use, Academic Combined Individual and Team Use, Training Individual Use, Training Team Use

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The online SimProject product was released for use September 1, 2011. By the end of November, 2012, approximately 875 students had used SimProject to learn project management. Instructors determine how SimProject is used in each class and they also decide how many times they want the students to execute the simulation (up to three times maximum). The data below is based on the results from the 224 students who completed all three executions.

In SimProject, students read about the virtual company, virtual project and virtual people available to work on the project, and then, individually or collectively, play the role of the project manager. Acting as the project manager the student(s):

  • Plan the project (resources, budget, risk, stakeholders, training, recognition) and make typical project decisions each week (staff assignments, meetings, training, stakeholder interactions, recognition)
  • Run the project a week at a time, analyzing their results each week (cost, schedule, quality, EVMS) referring to their weekly reports, and making their decisions for the next week

As they run each week they are presented with communications from people within the company, team members, or other project stakeholders. They have a choice on how to respond to these communications and all their decisions impact how their project progresses in a non-prescriptive way.

Learning was measured by the improvement in each student’s project execution beginning with their first execution as a baseline, and looking at how they improve in final measures of time (objective is 11 weeks), cost (objective is $50,000) and quality (objective is 12 defects or less) for their second and third executions. The charts below show a significant improvement in student project results (260%) from their first execution to their second execution, and then another improvement (70%) in their third execution. Obviously there are many factors that influence student results, not the least of which is the supporting instruction. Results will be influenced by how well instructors prepare the students for running the simulation in terms of instruction and practice with the fundamental project management tools and techniques, and with student orientation to how to plan and execute the simulation.


First Execution Median Values: 13.9 weeks, $65,588.50 and 15.06 final defects

Second Execution Median Values: 12.6 weeks, $ 56,774.75 and 14.08 final defects

Third Execution Median Values: 11.6 weeks, $ 53,092.50 and 13.1 final defects

The data quantitatively shows students, as a group, are improving their project management skills with respect to planning and managing their project to schedule, cost and quality. Driving a good part of the improvement is an elimination of mistakes made in the previous executions, especially in managing resources and motivating team members.

Student proficiency greatly increases in the three core knowledge areas. The survey question was “Rate your level of proficiency (knowledge and skills) regarding the following project management concepts”. The figure to the right shows the pre and post-simulation results.

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