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Simulation Based Training (SBT) – the Next Generation of Project Management Training

FEATURED PAPER

By Prof. Avraham SHTUB

Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management

Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

Haifa, ISRAEL
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Abstract

Teaching project management is not an easy task. Part of the difficulty is the one-of-a-kind nature of projects. Being one-of-a-kind and focusing on a unique product, service or result means that in teaching project management we must consider a very wide array of possible situations (scenarios) with which the project manager and his team should learn to cope.

Traditional project management teaching is based mostly on textbooks, articles and case studies. Textbooks present a body of knowledge in the project management area including best practices that proved to work well for a variety of projects. Many textbooks integrate some case studies with which the reader has an opportunity to implement the material learned. These case studies are valuable and widely used but they suffer from an inherent shortcoming — they are static in nature. Simulation Based Training (SBT) offers a solution to this problem.

This paper discusses the use of SBT for training and educating in project management, and presents a specific example of SBT platform.

Introduction

Traditional teaching and training of project management is based on lectures, reading materials and case studies. The advantage of case studies is that they can represent a real project and provide the lessons learned from it. A case study presents a snapshot of a situation at a specific time point. It is hard to understand the dynamic nature of projects by analyzing static case studies. Dealing with the dynamics of projects is most important throughout the project life cycle. During the planning, monitoring and control stages of the project, managers must take into account the fact that changes are an inherent part of project management due to uncertainty. Change management as part of the monitoring and control processes is vital to the success of modern projects.

Uncertainty is typical to most projects. This uncertainty leads to project risks (and opportunities) and to the need for proper risk management. Most textbooks on project management deal with risk management in the planning phase focusing on how to identify and how to mitigate risks. Some books go a step further and discuss the issue of residual risks and ways to buffer against such risks. The art and science of risk monitoring and control is very difficult to teach and even more difficult to practice using only books, articles and static case studies.

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About the Author 

flag-isrealpmwj16-nov2013-shtub-IMAGEProfessor Avraham Shtub

Industrial Engineering and Management
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
http://ie.technion.ac.il/Home/Users/shtub0.html

Professor Avraham Shtub holds the Stephen and Sharon Seiden Chair in Project Management in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. He has a B.Sc from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, an MBA from Tel Aviv University and a Ph.D from the University of Washington, USA. He is the recipient of the Institute of Industrial Engineering 1995 “Book of the Year Award” for his Book “Project Management: Engineering, Technology and Implementation” (co-authored with Jonathan Bard and Shlomo Globerson), Prentice Hall, 1994. He is the recipient of the Production Operations Management Society 2000 Wick Skinner Teaching Innovation Achievements Award for his book: “Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): The Dynamics of Operations Management” and he is the recipient of the 2008 Project Management Institute Professional Development Product of the Year Award for the training simulator “Project Team Builder – PTB”. His books were published in English, Hebrew, Greek and Chinese. Prof Shtub can be contacted at [email protected]