Scenarios and Situations

Discussing real-life problem scenarios is a very effective learning activity.  In this section of our website, Successful Project’s provides “scenarios and situations” that instructors can use in the classroom.


There often is no right or wrong answer to situations or scenarios. What is beneficial though is having insight into how you go about making project management decisions, remembering that planning for these situations in advance will help you perform better,  and in discussing the consequences of your decisions.

 In the daily tumult of project management, our attention is inevitably focused on what we’re deciding while how we’re making those decisions usually goes without notice or consideration. Practicing realistic situations and scenarios can significantly improve on-the-job performance because it helps you build values, philosophies, and good thinking processes that can help you make good decisions more quickly in the future.

Unavailable Customer

The project manager completed the design specifications process for a new application and received approval from the client to begin development on the project. During the first stages of the development, the project manager discovers that some elements of the design are not compatible with the existing infrastructure and must discontinue development until she can review the design issues with the customer.  Read More

Stakeholder Expectations

On the last couple of projects, the project manager thought everything was going great, until the end, when project stakeholders surprised her with negative feedback.  Read More

No Authority

This project manager’s projects span organizational departments. She finds herself relying on people whom she has no authority over. She often has difficulty enlisting them as accountable, enthusiastic team members. This is hurting her projects and making her rather frustrated.  The project manager knows she is not going to be given organizational authority over all of these people. What can she do to make this work?  Read More

Rushed Through Decisions

The project team is overworked and the project decisions they are faced with can be controversial and difficult. Lately, when the team gathers for meetings to make important decisions they feel rushed for time. Although none of them want to admit it, their project decisions are often rubber stamped or treated as unimportant just so that they can move on and get out of the meeting.  Read More.

Abrasive Team Member

Mary comes into the project manager’s office very upset and insists that one of the other project team members, Sam, is creating very bad chemistry on the team and must be taken off this project. Sam knows his stuff and his work quality is very good. However, the abrasive way he delivers his frequent unsolicited technical input and feedback to others is creating friction on the team and distracting them from what they have to do.  Read More

Unclear Scope

As the project team is planning the WBS and work assignments, there is a lot of disagreement about what work is actually to be included in this particular project. For example, when issues of software testing, user training, and documentation came up, some people thought these things should be part of the project while others thought that since the customer didn’t specifically ask for it that it should not be included.  Read More

Deadline Change

A project manager is working on a single large project for a year. She received a call from her project’s sponsor. The two of them have a good business relationship. The project manager is exactly 2 months away from the project’s hard deadline and her project’s sponsor wants the deadline bumped up by 3 weeks.  Read More