Abstract for:A Flight Simulator for Product Development and Decision-Making BOT Seeking Optimum Strategies

Complex product development projects are chronically late, over-budget, and fail to meet customer requirements. Successful project managers must learn to assess the long term impacts of their decisions including delayed feedback effects. Here we present a new management flight simulator representing modern and complex projects.  The interactive, web-based simulator extends the model of Ford and Sterman (1998) to include endogenous and stochastic introduction of new features in the market affecting customer expectations, precedence constraints affecting the degree of concurrency of different tasks, the short and long-term consequences of schedule pressure that may be imposed by management, endogenous generation of errors and rework, interphase relationships and other realistic features of modern projects. Players make decisions regarding schedule, staffing, concurrency of project phases, scope changes and so on. In addition to presenting the new model, we propose an automated bot model that simulates the decisions of players.  The bot is itself a system dynamics model that takes as inputs the same information available to actual project managers.  We use optimization to find parameters that maximize project NPV.  The simulator is designed to serve professional managers and students, who can play the game and compare their performance against the strategies developed by the