Lessons for project management : experiences from forensic modelling

Eden, Colin and Howick, Susan (2012) Lessons for project management : experiences from forensic modelling. In: OR54 Annual Conference 2012, 2012-09-04 - 2012-09-06, Edinburgh First, The University of Edinburgh. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Time and cost overruns on complex projects continue to be a challenge for project managers - the Edinburgh Tram system provides just one recent example. Although complex projects can be difficult to unravel, system dynamics modelling has a history of being able to explain the key events that trigger overruns and their impact. This presentation will demonstrate that the process of building a system dynamics modelling can provide powerful lessons regarding project overruns when the model is built with a focus on ‘telling the story’ of the project. The process of building a model to tell the ‘story’ of the project highlights a number of issues that are often not considered due to the difficulty in addressing them. Addressing these issues can draw out important lessons for the organisation and indicate ways of better managing the planning stage of the project as well as after disruptions have occurred. For example, ensuring that the model; can start telling the ‘story’ of the project by commencing with a validation of the estimate; replicates the decision making process as it occurred in practice, and can replicate memorable events during a project through use of time based scenarios. Using the extensive experience of the presenters in developing system dynamics models for litigation, on behalf of contractors and customers, the presentation will discuss each of the above issues and demonstrate the types of organisational lessons that can be gained during the modelling process.