Causality tracing user interface design and development for a software management flight simulator
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Interactive simulations are a highly suitable tool for training managers in their increasingly complex roles in software project management. This research effort designs and implements an interactive user friendly interface for the system dynamics software development and project management model using a flight simulator as a metaphor. Methods and techniques for good user interface development are considered and implemented using the Ventana Simulation (Vensim) application development, modeling, and analysis environment. The resulting interface facilitates the user experimentation with management policy strategies and decision making, as well as the investigation of scenarios to determine what the circumstances were that caused the project's expected behavior to vary. The analysis capabilities of the interface enables the user to trace cause-and-effect relationships that are often invisible and not considered when making management decisions. The interface's causal tracing functionality significantly enhances the value of the underlying model as a learning tool by facilitating the development of an integrated, improved vision of the world that managers are responsible in control.
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