Rocket Your Projects: Part 2

Rocket Your Projects: Part 2
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The Project Management Game from Lou Russell is a competitive team simulation emphasizing simple, fast, and flexible techniques for ensuring project success.

By the end of this blog post, participants will:

  • Realize how to leverage personal strengths to build a rocket to improve project communication
  • Learn how to apply the DARE model of project management


Participants are assigned to project teams and will face the challenge of building a rocket to exact specifications, including budget (amount of materials needed) time (race to make the rocket first). But as always in HRDQ simulations, things will not be as you think they are.  Tension and pressure quickly grow as information is revealed, and team dynamics emerge.


>> Learn more at the webinar: Project Management 101: Develop a More Successful Team With ROCKET


After the activity, the facilitator will conduct a debrief session where participants will discuss their experiences during the simulation, and uncover the DARE model of project management. The gameplay approach rapidly teaches participants the importance of each phase, from planning to completion. This way, they can practice what is referred to as a “flexible structure.”

Using colored popsicle sticks, blueprints, small screws, and nuts, individuals and/or teams (depending on Covid) jump into building the Rocket. It’s a kid’s toy – how hard can it be? What do you think is the first problem that occurs?

Within 15 minutes or so, someone yells, “We’re done!!!” and the facilitator goes to check on the results.  As the facilitator looks over the built Rocket, s/he tells the builders that the blueprint shows that they are wrong, primarily because of haste and competition. This continues until each team has completed the task.

Remember clearly what caused the build of this project to be threatened:

  • No one asks why they are building a rocket
  • No one asks any questions
  • It’s a race between teams, even though the facilitator didn’t say it was


Taking tight screws off a popsicle stick rocket is frustrating and difficult for adult fingers who are trying to fix the mess they made. Others improv… making beautiful, creative colors that aren’t needed and were not budgeted for. This is what we do every day in our work.

Written by: Lou Russell

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