Project Planning | Project Planning Training Activity

Apply basic project planning principles to the construction of a log cabin within a tight deadline and within a tight budget!

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrates the importance of a critical path
  • Emphasises the need to schedule efficiently
  • Highlights the need to plan for contingencies
  • Covers labour planning and materials ordering
  • Shows how cashflow is crucial to a project
  • Participants

    3-24 (up to four teams of 3-6 per team)

  • Timing

    1.5 hours + debrief

  • Uses a computer?

    Yes - 1 PC & printer required

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The Activity

Teams have a chart showing six weeks. In that time they need to plan to construct a log cabin. They have details of the 7 stages of the project from clearing the land to putting the roof on and landscaping. They have a file of information about the labour required for each phase and the cost and delivery times of materials. Their task is to plan the build within the deadline and within the budget, allowing for contingencies such as rainy days.

Their schedules are entered into a laptop that identifies the shortcomings of their plans and scores them out of 100. Can the team work together and come up with a feasible plan?

Trainer's Role

  • Introduce the activity using the PowerPoint presentation provided
  • Issue the Team Folders and allow teams up to 90 minutes planning
  • At the end of the planning phase, collect Decision Forms and input the data into a computer or laptop (very straightforward)
  • Conduct a debrief, getting teams to give feedback on how they worked together and how they approached the task
  • Issue the final reports and award the contract to the highest scoring team. Lead a discussion on the key points and summarise the lessons (on the PowerPoint presentation).

Pack Contents

  • Trainer’s Notes
  • Computer Program
  • PowerPoint
  • Team Folders
  • Planning charts
  • Timetable Forms
  • Order Forms

'Project Planning' always gets a good review. It's an excellent, interactive component on the project management course for junior/ middle managers who are new to projects. The best learning point is juggling a range of variables (schedule, budget, resources) simultaneously – key to project management.

A. Myers, Ashorne Hill Management College

The 'Project Planning' session ended with a standing ovation and request for more! Used with design engineers of all levels from graduate to middle management as a stand-alone activity to identify any specific gaps and as reinforcement of existing skills. The best learning points were: start from the end and work back; read all the brief properly; consider all elements rather than concentrate on one; and the importance of team working and utilising all skills. High impact both in the activity itself (the doing) and the review following as knowledge was willingly shared. The feedback from delegates was exceptional – they enjoyed both the actual 'doing themselves' and, as a consequence, felt they got far more out of the review session.

L. Taylor, Cundall, Johnston & Partners

Delegates found 'Project Planning' challenging and interesting. The exercise proved very useful and I'm sure we'll be using it again!

K. White, Blyth Valley Council

The Project Planning activity really highlighted the human instinct to try to complete things as quickly as possible rather than make use of the full time available and deliver a more quality output. The game was very well designed to allow participants to fall naturally into that trap and it prompted some healthy discussions on what they would do differently next time. I liked the competitive nature of it and the comprehensive reports that each team gets. It led to a discussion not just on project planning but also on teamwork. So all in all, great activity that was challenging even for a Senior Group of Managers.

Andrew Mardon, Director of Consulting, Kantar Retail Middle East

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