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Topics: Communications Management, Organizational Culture, Risk Management, Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)
Looking for ideas on small group excerises to teach project management concepts
I am looking for ideas on small group exercises that illustrate PM concepts especially around dealing with cultural differences or dealing with cross border issues or ethics. Something for students to do in say 5 or 10 minutes. Any ideas welcome
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With how many students are you working?
Thanks for responding. Just planning the class. Let us say 20 students divided into 4-5 groups i.e. 4 to 5 students per group.
Make a structure of 3 pieces by Lego.
Separate the students in 3 groups.
Ask them to make it in different ways. First, all together, then in separate teams. and try to make it faster by applying some simple principle of PM. You can describe the WBS, concurrent work, team working, configuration management and ... .
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1 reply by Ashok Chandrasekhar
Nov 29, 2017 6:41 PM
Ashok Chandrasekhar
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Thank you, that is a good idea
What do you think of this?

Write each of following sentences on a piece of paper (four copies of each for 20 sentences), then have each student draw one slip of paper out of a bag. Tell them to read their paper and not reveal it to anyone else:
In my culture it’s acceptable to give good contracts to friends and family members.
In my culture older people are given higher positions than younger people
In my culture it’s acceptable to give preferential treatment to people of my ethnicity .
In my culture women are rarely given positions of executive leadership.
My culture strives to regard each person by their ability, not their appearance.

Give the students three different yet similar resumes, each with a different photo attached (vary the photos by age, gender and race). Tell the students they are Project Managers tasked with deciding which of these three individuals their company should hire as a primary Vendor. Tell them to base their decision on the sentence they selected earlier. After they deliberate and butt heads for a while, have them read their slip of paper out loud to the others in their group.
This exercise illustrates that business standards that are perfectly acceptable in one culture might be distasteful or even illegal in another culture, and that Project Managers need to be conscious of this when conducting business across national or cultural boundaries. The lesson also shows just how subjective ethics are, and you can use it as a good springboard to discuss ethics in project management. Finally, you can conclude the lesson by telling the students that these are just a few of the many cross-cultural issues that affect project management.
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1 reply by Ashok Chandrasekhar
Nov 29, 2017 6:53 PM
Ashok Chandrasekhar
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This is a fantastic idea. Thank you so much for it, It incorporates many essential concepts and illustrates how subjective ethics are and why you have to be sensitive to it.
Planning a wedding party.
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1 reply by Ashok Chandrasekhar
Nov 29, 2017 6:43 PM
Ashok Chandrasekhar
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Excellent idea, I may want to add a twist to this, that the bride and the groom may not be from the same ethnic or cultural background. What additional sensitivity should the planning include.
Nov 29, 2017 12:50 PM
Replying to Abolfazl Yousefi Darestani
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Make a structure of 3 pieces by Lego.
Separate the students in 3 groups.
Ask them to make it in different ways. First, all together, then in separate teams. and try to make it faster by applying some simple principle of PM. You can describe the WBS, concurrent work, team working, configuration management and ... .
Thank you, that is a good idea
Nov 29, 2017 6:15 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
Planning a wedding party.
Excellent idea, I may want to add a twist to this, that the bride and the groom may not be from the same ethnic or cultural background. What additional sensitivity should the planning include.
...
2 replies by Eric Simms and Sergio Luis Conte
Nov 29, 2017 7:43 PM
Eric Simms
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Wedding planning is a great way to teach project management concepts. In addition to making the couple of different ethnicities and cultures, make them of different religions, too. People often adhere to religious teachings and laws more strongly than cultural or ethnic mores, and many couples who have been in love for years have stumbled over unforeseen incompatibilities between their beliefs. Also, religious interpretation among people of the same religion is quite subjective, and can make for some fascinating scenario twists.
Nov 30, 2017 3:25 AM
Sergio Luis Conte
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I have a full case writing to teach project management with it. The important thing is the party itself. You can choose any type of party. I chosen wedding because all related to stakeholder behavior is very special and it is usuful to teach project stakeholders management and change management. The important thing is to select something everyone (or most of the people) have experienced in their real life.
Nov 29, 2017 4:22 PM
Replying to Eric Simms
...
What do you think of this?

Write each of following sentences on a piece of paper (four copies of each for 20 sentences), then have each student draw one slip of paper out of a bag. Tell them to read their paper and not reveal it to anyone else:
In my culture it’s acceptable to give good contracts to friends and family members.
In my culture older people are given higher positions than younger people
In my culture it’s acceptable to give preferential treatment to people of my ethnicity .
In my culture women are rarely given positions of executive leadership.
My culture strives to regard each person by their ability, not their appearance.

Give the students three different yet similar resumes, each with a different photo attached (vary the photos by age, gender and race). Tell the students they are Project Managers tasked with deciding which of these three individuals their company should hire as a primary Vendor. Tell them to base their decision on the sentence they selected earlier. After they deliberate and butt heads for a while, have them read their slip of paper out loud to the others in their group.
This exercise illustrates that business standards that are perfectly acceptable in one culture might be distasteful or even illegal in another culture, and that Project Managers need to be conscious of this when conducting business across national or cultural boundaries. The lesson also shows just how subjective ethics are, and you can use it as a good springboard to discuss ethics in project management. Finally, you can conclude the lesson by telling the students that these are just a few of the many cross-cultural issues that affect project management.
This is a fantastic idea. Thank you so much for it, It incorporates many essential concepts and illustrates how subjective ethics are and why you have to be sensitive to it.
...
1 reply by Eric Simms
Nov 29, 2017 7:31 PM
Eric Simms
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You are most welcome. I'm glad you posed the question; it was fun trying to puzzle out an answer.
Nov 29, 2017 6:53 PM
Replying to Ashok Chandrasekhar
...
This is a fantastic idea. Thank you so much for it, It incorporates many essential concepts and illustrates how subjective ethics are and why you have to be sensitive to it.
You are most welcome. I'm glad you posed the question; it was fun trying to puzzle out an answer.
Nov 29, 2017 6:43 PM
Replying to Ashok Chandrasekhar
...
Excellent idea, I may want to add a twist to this, that the bride and the groom may not be from the same ethnic or cultural background. What additional sensitivity should the planning include.
Wedding planning is a great way to teach project management concepts. In addition to making the couple of different ethnicities and cultures, make them of different religions, too. People often adhere to religious teachings and laws more strongly than cultural or ethnic mores, and many couples who have been in love for years have stumbled over unforeseen incompatibilities between their beliefs. Also, religious interpretation among people of the same religion is quite subjective, and can make for some fascinating scenario twists.
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