HBR Simulation on Project Management

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Introduction

The HBR Simulation is a computer simulation that enables the user to run a project on three different scenarios. During project execution, the user assumes the role of a senior project manager. His/her role is to assemble and direct a product design team from the start of project commencement to the end of the project. During the simulation exercise, the user/project manager has to make different decisions that will see him/her through the project. The decisions raised in the simulation affect the overall performance of the project, and this is reflected in the overall score.  The success of the project will also depend on how the project manager will manage the different constraints encountered during the simulation exercise. Some of the simulation goals set are successful completion of the project and running the simulation within the chosen timeline. Decision making on the parameters to be used in the project include the following areas: scope, resources (cost), schedule and team process (Austin, n.d). The project success will depend on these metrics. I ran the simulation, executing a project from the start to the end based on decisions made on the project parameters. During the project, I encountered different constraints which had a direct influence on my overall score on the project.

There are different decisions that I made at the beginning of the project, in the simulation, which led to my overall rating of 733/1050. This score is slightly above average, which means my decisions were not extreme. The first decision made is in the project scope. At this stage, I chose the type of printer that I wanted my team to work. The printer of my choice was high-speed level 2 printer. High-speed level 2 printer is a machine with medium features which can be easily handled in a few days. The selection of the printer helped me decided on the schedule, budget, process and the overall project timeline. The scope was also a good pointer on the size of the team I needed to complete the project in the chosen schedule.

The second decision I made was on the schedule. The program allowed me to pick on the target completion week. The target completion week I chose was week 11. I arrived at a decision based on the scope of the project. The project needed common tasks to be completed because the printer to be worked on by the project team is a High-speed level 2 printer. This printer does not have many complicated parts to be worked on, neither does it have a less complex structure. I therefore had to adjust the schedule to week 11 so as the project can successfully be completed.

For successful completion of the project, I had to choose suitable resource who will make the team to accomplish the project. The decision rendered by the number and skill of the people to be included in the project was based on scope and schedule. The scope, schedule and resources are closely linked since the greater the magnitude of the scope; the more work is required to be done to complete the project. More tasks mean wide schedule and a competent and substantial team. The reverse of the situation is accurate. In consideration to the tasks to be completed for the success of my project, I chose a group size of four members. The overall skill level of my team was medium-high, and the tasks it outsourced are some primary functions. The efficiency with which the team completed the tasks depended on some situations such as their workload, morale and stress levels (Harvard Business Review Staff, 2016).

As the project manager, in the simulation, the process allowed me to call meetings and allow overtime. I called meetings during the project execution and encouraged overtime. I encouraged overtime to help the team meet the schedule. I also made a decision to review the project by building prototypes along the way. I then decided on the number of weeks to advance the simulation and submitted all my decisions. All the decisions made during the project affect the weekly cost total presented on the sidebar of the simulator.

Project constraints are the restrictions and limitations faced during the simulation exercise.  The project constraints affect the overall score at the end of the training. How the project manager, in this case, the user running the simulation, deals with the project constraints is a determining factor in the success of the project. There are some limitations encountered in this project. Different measures were taken to manage these constraints, by either mitigating them or eliminating them (Meyer, Loch, & Pic, 2002).

Before running the project, different decisions were made as per the scope of the project. One of the decisions is on the resources and to be precise, the human resource. An adequate number of the team to work on the project was taken. However, a staffing crisis is a constraint which can arise. To deal with this case of a scenario, I decided to pick four team members to work on the project. The number of the workers was adequately average. In connection with the task they were to complete, average results were the output. The project was a success, but the score reflected an average performance.

The quality of work produced in an organization is a key factor in the success of a project. Poor quality work will mean failure in the project. Poor quality work is also another constraint any manager can meet. In this simulation project, the task to be completed was the production of High-Speed Level 2 printers. To manage the constraint of poor quality work, a competent and experienced team was chosen. I chose medium-high skilled team members to do the task. The selection gave me an assurance of quality work at the end of the project.

Depending on the scope of the project and resources available, time management can be an issue. If time is not properly managed, the project might end up behind schedule. Still, if staffing does not rhyme with the project scope, time can be a constraint. To curb the limitation of time management in this project simulation, overtime working was encouraged. Working overtime means that the more tasks will be completed within a given schedule, and therefore the project will end in time. The project simulation was ahead of schedule because of good time management, and the project manager encouraged overtime.

The simulation project involves the change of scenarios, from scenario A to B and then to C. Such a change means changes in time. Time changes if not well understood can be a challenge in the execution of the project. The problem comes in in the allocation of resources in the project. To see the project to successful completion, I had to understand appropriately timed changes. Understanding the changes in time in the scenario helped me allocate resources appropriately, thus running the project to the end.

The last project constraint that affects the success of a project is the setting of project objectives. A project without realistic targets will not succeed because the goals are not feasible. When making decisions on the metrics to be used in a project, the aim should be in mind so as correct parameters for the project are set. The success of my project simulation is attributed to the project objectives I set at the beginning of the project. A slightly above average score means I set realistic project goals, and I also minimized the project scope changes. Minimizing or not modify the scope of the project helps an individual work on the project without being affected by any other related external factors ( Neely, Edward, & Barrows, 2015).

HBR simulation software is a project management software that enables students to manage a project team. In management process, the user needs to staff the project team, handle the team process and run the project from the start to completion. The decisions made at the beginning of the project will determine the success of the project. Sound decisions need to be made on the metrics of the project which are within the scope of the project. During the execution process, unanticipated events and challenges are encountered (Ramasesh & Browning, 2015). These events and difficulties are the project constraints. Project constraints threaten the success of the project, and unless managed and tackled as appropriate, the project might fail. I ran the simulation based on the decisions and constraints named and completed my project. I attained a score of 733/1050, which was above average, at the end of the exercise as shown in the screenshot.

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