Stories by Kishore Sengupta, Tarek K Abdel-Hamid, and Luk N Van Wassenhove

The experience trap

If you were looking for an experienced manager to head up a software development team, Alex would be at the top of your short-list. A senior manager, Alex has spent most of his career running software projects. His first responsibility was developing scientific software for NASA and since then, he has overseen ever more complex projects for commercial enterprises and government agencies.
Alex was typical of the several hundred project managers who participated in our research initiative on experience-based learning in complex environments. We invited him to test his skills by playing a computer-based game that entails managing a simulated software project from start to finish — making the plans, monitoring and guiding progress, and observing the consequences. We set goals for him: Finish on time and within budget, and obtain the highest possible quality (as measured by the number of defects remaining).

Written by Kishore Sengupta, Tarek K Abdel-Hamid, and Luk N Van Wassenhove08 March 08 22:00