Rather than the traditional lecture format of training, the simulation approach is based on a hands-on, competitive situation similar to a board game. Divided up into project teams and given a complicated IT project, then hit with typical management curveballs, participants converse, make decisions, and learn about project management by doing.
Imagine becoming part of a three-member IT project team, working to build an improved customer-information system that will support your company’s new product. The pressure’s on, because you know that several competitors have similar products debuting, so your company needs to hit the market first. But within moments of establishing your goals, your company president sends you an email setting up priorities that conflict with your original mandate for the system. Shortly thereafter, a voice mail comes in: Your project sponsor has quit his job. Over the next few hours, you’ll have to master Gantt charts, learn to do contingency planning, make resource allocations and work with touchy new project sponsors.
Sound familiar? It could be the real-life world of a project manager, but actually it’s a day-long simulation using Countdown, a strategy game for project teams. The training program takes about 18 participants — split up into three-member teams — through a high-energy business