Design and evaluation of PMS : a computerized simulation game for Software Project Management

W.C. Lui, P.T. Lee, Vincent To Yee Ng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


In recent years there has been an increasing interest in the use of computerized simulation games to support the teaching and learning of software/IT project management. However, it appears that some of the existing simulation games mainly focus on software engineering concepts, and have less emphasis on project management issues such as scope, stakeholder and communication management. On the other hand, some project management simulation games focus on general project management concepts (e.g. the constraints among time, cost and scope), but fail to demonstrate the unique aspects and complexity of software/IT projects. This article presents the design and implementation of project management simulation (PMS), a computerized simulation game for the learning of software/IT project management. PMS addresses issues relevant to project management and software engineering literature. In the game, the player acts as a project manager and plans a video contest software development project. The player must analyze each project stakeholder’s requirements, properly define the project scope, and assign project activities to team members. The player communicates with the stakeholders proactively, develops software prototypes, and conducts quality review to increase stakeholders’ satisfaction and improve software quality. PMS aims to place a more balanced emphasis on the concepts of both software engineering and project management. This article includes an evaluation study to demonstrate the effectiveness of a learning exercise with PMS for supporting the teaching of the undergraduate course, ‘Software Project Methodology and Implementation’, at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The effectiveness of students’ learning with respect to the different project management knowledge areas was measured by comparing the students’ perceived levels of understanding of project management knowledge before and after playing the game. The pre and post learning exercise data show that the exercise with PMS significantly reinforced players’ knowledge in most project management knowledge areas, namely in human resource management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-121
Number of pages21
JournalThe computer games journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Simulation game
  • Information technology
  • Software engineering
  • Project management
  • Educational games


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