Lessons learned essay

Write a “Lessons Learned” document. Lessons can be on any aspect of Project Management, but should be specifically based on your work in the simulation. In particular, how does what you have learned about cost and schedule estimation affect your running of the simulation and/or the lessons learned. Lessons learned are an important part of the closing of a project. I will attached the brief explanation of those 7 lessons and uploaded some documents and pictures for your better understanding of the project. Basically it’s a simulation system that let you make the project management decision based on the documents that they provide to you. Since the system can only login with a student account, I cannot provide more information regarding to the details of this project. Please focus on the documents that I upload and make some connections with my final score[it will explain the details of why they deduct my points]. Thank you for your help!

Lesson 1

In Lesson 1 of the simulation, you will be presented with a list of project stakeholders. You will also be presented with the project charter. You should know that the project charter is incomplete on a couple of levels; the main issue in the charter is that the role of the project manager is not clearly defined. You will need the project charter to guide you in your decision-making during the project. No matter how big or small your project, you need this document. Make sure that all of your decisions are aligned with the project goals; otherwise, you will not be successful on your project.


In order to determine if you have all of your requirements, filter the requirements from all of the stakeholder interviews, perform a stakeholder analysis, and create a stakeholder register. You will not be asked to perform this function, but you should understand that this is the appropriate step for a project manager to take when defining project requirements.

Lesson 2

In Lesson 2, you are at the beginning of the planning phase and will need to make a few decisions on how you want to manage your project, such as choosing some of the team members. Make sure you use the project requirements when selecting your team. Your WBS has been completed; you should review it with the understanding that this document is now considered the schedule baseline and will be used as the performance measurement baseline. The WBS should be further decomposed but you will not be given the opportunity to decompose it. There are some activities missing from the WBS, which may cause problems later in the project. What you should come to appreciate is that if your WBS is incomplete, you can bet that your project will have some scope creep later.

Lesson 3

In this lesson, you are given the opportunity to create the schedule and budget for the project. If you understand how the critical path works, then you will not waste your time changing the dates and dollar amounts randomly. If you find yourself frustrated and spending a lot of time creating the schedule, you are not using the critical path [CP] to guide your schedule management. Any activity that is in RED is part of the CP. You are managing the release of the product in three languages. Look at the Localization Assumptions document to help you understand how those three languages are created. Use the project documents to guide you in determining which language[s] should be on the critical path and which should not. Whenever you compress the schedule, you are adding risk to the project. You will need to add contingency reserves for any risks you introduce into your project. You should also start to think about identifying the biggest risk in your project. Only by doing so can you create and manage your schedule effectively.

Lesson 4

Let’s recap where you are in your project:

You gathered requirements for the project.

You are in the planning phase of your project.

You have created your project documents, schedule, and associated budget.

You are now in the final stages of the planning phase of your project. The simulation spends a lot of time in this phase only to emphasize how important it is to the success of your project that you know your scope. If you don’t know your scope, you cannot accurately estimate your schedule or budget. If you don’t have an accurate schedule or budget, you cannot accurately control your project risks. All of these areas are interdependent. Remember: Your scope is critical to the success of your project.

In this lesson, your baseline will be set and the project will be ready for execution. When the baseline is set, it will automatically notify the company and all of the stakeholders. You will now be expected to meet the target date you have set in the baseline, and you will be held responsible for it. Don’t forget about the Enterprise Environmental Factors [EEFs] that are affecting your project:

Market share: The company has a 31% market share [from Simon’s project background description], but it is losing market share due to foreign-language versions being unavailable. Time to market is critical and the company wants all versions launched at the same time.

Infrastructure: The company is set up to release all localized versions at once; it will no longer allow each country to release its own version. This also implies not releasing one language earlier than another.

Organizational processes: Change control is not transparent.

Stakeholder risk tolerances: The company is willing to spend money but not at the expense of a delayed release.

Political climate: Jason has a lot of control over the process. His relationship with Nicholas is not defined, but it is evident there is some disconnect between the two.

Lesson 5

The project is now in full swing and you may receive some surprises if you did not plan your schedule and risks properly. If you run into trouble, should you reset your baseline? In many organizations, most notably those that work on government projects, resetting the baseline is frowned on. Many organizations do not reset the baseline because the EVM data will be lost [erased] and as a result it will look as if everything is on track. In this simulation, it is okay to reset the baseline once; however, if you continue to reset the baseline, your EVM data will become useless. Status reporting will be based on false and inaccurate data. Avoid resetting your baseline if you can.

You may also encounter a human resource problem. If you are unhappy with the results of this situation, you must know that the communications plan does not make provisions for this situation. Make sure you remember this situation in your future projects and document how to deal with it in your project’s communications plan. In addition, the project charter does not clearly define the role of the project manager, so also remember that if you want to have more authority on a project, you have to ensure it is written in the project charter.

Lesson 6

In this lesson, you are mostly concerned with receiving status reports from your team. Sometimes you will not receive a report on time and at other times you will receive multiple reports. From reading your performance reports, you should know whether your project will be successful. These metrics show you precise information with regard to each task as well as for the overall project. CPI and SPI are status-reporting tools, whereas VAC and EAC are forecasting tools. Numbers tell a story and can help point out some of your strengths and weaknesses in project management.

Now that you have been back-charged for a scope issue, look at how your metrics are affected.

In general, your VAC/EAC should not be affected at all. Why? Because you should be using your reserves for the scope issue. Contingency and management funds are not part of the cost baseline. Only the cost baseline is tracked in the performance report. If you had reserves in place, your reserves should have taken care of this issue for you. However, without any reserves in place, your project will have budget overruns. This is all summarized in the TRACKING tab. Contingency and management funds are not part of the cost baseline, which is tracked in the performance report.

The VAC/EAC is reporting how you are managing your work packages, regardless of whether you are using your contingency reserves. For example, let’s suppose that the project has a cost baseline of $500,000 and your EAC shows $535,000. The VAC is reporting the difference between what you have planned and what the actual costs are. If you have enough contingency reserves in place, you should be fine, as you are consuming those reserves only.

If you don’t have enough contingency reserves in place, you should:

See how much available budget is left on the TRACKING tab, under the ACTUAL tab. If you have some funds left, hopefully those funds cover your work package contingencies as well as this extra training expense. If you don’t have any available funds, then…

Think about extending the final date [not past July 1, though] to reduce some costs so the savings can cover your contingencies and the training expense, or…

Reduce as many task costs as possible without pushing out the date [don’t pay for activities with float], so the savings cover your contingencies and the training expense. Or…

Beg for more money if you have to, but only as a last resort. It is not a recommended practice except under dire conditions.

It is important to know how to read your performance report and to ensure you have reserves; something is better than nothing. Protect yourself always.

Finally, you will also have to deal with the daily project issues. Depending on the team you have chosen, you may also need to deal with contractual issues.

Lesson 7

The last lesson in the simulation is concerned with wrapping up the project and the activities surrounding the launch. As you wrap up the project, think about what documents were most important during the project.

The project toolkit was organized according to the project life cycle: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. As the project manager, you must understand exactly which phase you are in the project life cycle. Knowing where you are in the process allows you to choose the tools and techniques most appropriate for that phase or that point in the project. As you progress during the project, certain documents become more important than others, depending on which phase you are in.


Looking at the documents, the project charter provides the mandate for the project. The historical information and all the other planning documents help you to understand the scope of the project. The performance report and the trend report help you to control the project. This is just a small sampling of the documents found within the project toolkit. All of these documents are important. However, the project management plan does take precedence over all of them, at some level. In this document, you should list the most important, high-level, strategic information about the project. The project management plan details how the project will be aligned with the company goals. This is where you implement the directive of the project, clarify the expectations, and describe how you will meet the criteria for a successful project.

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