Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In This Issue

Outmoded project management practices are much more damaging that most people realize. Here is a 5M IT project failure that turned into a 200M writeoff for the company. Board members take notice.


Why Your IT Project May Be Riskier Than You Think

by Bent Flyvbjerg and Alexander Budzier, Harvard Business Review, Sep 2011
To top managers at Levi Strauss, revamping the information technology system seemed like a good idea. The company had come a long way since its founding in the 19th century by a German-born dry-goods salesman: In 2003 it was a global corporation, with operations in more than 110 countries. But its IT network was antiquated, a balkanized mix of incompatible country-specific computer systems. So executives decided to migrate to a single SAP system and hired a team of Deloitte consultants to lead the effort. The risks seemed small: The proposed budget was less than $5 million. But very quickly all hell broke loose. One major customer, Walmart, required that the system interface with its supply chain management system, creating additional hurdles. Insufficient procedures for financial reporting and internal controls nearly forced Levi Strauss to restate quarterly and annual results. During the switchover, it was unable to fill orders and had to close its three U.S. distribution centers for a week. In the second quarter of 2008, the company took a $192.5 million charge against earnings to compensate for the botched project—and its chief information officer, David Bergen, was forced to resign. Read more ...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Forbes Blog: Steve Jobs on Get Rid of the Crappy Stuff!


Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worl...
Image via Wikipedia
Apple recently passed Google as the most valuable brand in the world.  It’s extraordinary to think that the world’s top brand has a product portfolio that could fit on a small table.  Of course that’s part of the reason why Apple is so successful—its relentless focus on creating a small number of simple and elegant products.  When I was conducting the research for my book, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, I came across one story that provides a glimpse into how Steve Jobs and the company he co-founded has achieved its stunning success.  The story comes to us courtesy of Nike CEO, Mark Parker.  He said shortly after becoming CEO, he talked to Steve Jobs on the phone.
“Do you have any advice?”  Parker asked Jobs.  “Well, just one thing,” said Jobs. “Nike makes some of the best products in the world.  Products that you lust after.  But you also make a lot of crap.  Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”  Parker said Jobs paused and Parker filled the quiet with a chuckle.  But Jobs didn’t laugh.  He was serious. “He was absolutely right,” said Parker.
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A ScrumInc. client recently had a problem. The Product Owner team could only produce enough backlog for 30% of the developers. The recommendation was to use the other 70% of developers to get rid of the crappy stuff. The release time was cut in half with more features than the previous release and was delivered by 30% of the developers. The stock price went up 400% during the implementation when the other 70% of the developers started getting rid of the crappy stuff.

Friday, August 05, 2011


    Bob Sarni Aug 02 11:29AM
    If you have not seen this series on youtube, I would recommend it. I really enjoyed. It was great to hear Ken and Jeff really talk about the roots and future of Scrum. Parts 6 through 8 are Q&A. Of course the question was asked about Scrum Alliance vs Scrum.org. Both were very diplomatic in the responses and really focused on "who" gives the certification is not as important as the application of Scrum and that no matter who gives the certification - you should do your homework and make sure you have a good trainer. Also both talk about doing your homework about hiring people - certifications do not guarantee excellence. Also a great discussion on Kanban. Other highlights: Jeff talks about the Department of Defense mandating that iterative and incremental approaches be included in their procurement processes. Jeff would like to raise money to implement a Scrum Institute at Harvard Business School. The Scrum Guide and Scrum Handbook are the sources of Scrum Hope you enjoy :) 

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Openview: Scrum Inc. training on location



Inside OpenView's corporate relocation program

Scott Maxwell grew up in Silicon Valley, but these days he is practically operating a shadow economic development agency in Massachusetts. As founder of OpenView Venture Partners, a Boston-based venture capital firm (and before that as the head of the Boston office of Insight Venture Partners), he has persuaded more than a half-dozen companies from around the world set up shop here.

OpenView targets software and Internet companies that have already created a product or service, and begun generating revenue. "We look for companies that have around $5 million in revenue when we invest," Maxwell says, "so it's really expansion investing, giving them the resources they need for growth." OpenView will invest in start-ups anywhere in the world, Maxwell adds, "but the company needs to have a North American strategy." Often, that entails setting up a new headquarters in the U.S. and hiring a CEO here. OpenView's current fund totals $233 million, Maxwell says, and typically the firm puts about $7 million or $8 million into a company as its initial investment.

While a partner at Insight (a Manhattan-based firm), Maxwell brought three companies — AstaroImceda Software, and Acronis — to Burlington from Germany, Australia and Russia, respectively. Intronis, a cloud-based back-up service that started life in New Jersey, is now operating out of OpenView's Fort Point Channel office, and Zmags, an online merchandising company founded in Denmark, is now headquartered in the same neighborhood. Two other companies, Exinda and Open-e, have established headquarters in Boston after raising money from OpenView.

Most of the companies are still relatively small; all told, they account for perhaps 250 jobs in the state, according to OpenView's figures. "Boston is just the best place to set these companies up," Maxwell says. Often, they start by using space in OpenView's offices.

"It's really difficult to grow a company in Silicon Valley," he continues. "There's too much competition for hiring, the costs are high, and people in Massachusetts work a lot harder. For business-to-business companies, the labor pool is incredible here, and there are plenty of salespeople. And I say all that as a California native."
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Jeff Sutherland has been Senior Advisor to Openview Venture Partners since 2006 where he started up Scrum Inc. onsite and began working with portfolio companies to implement Scrum. He has recently moved to the Cambridge Innovation Center as the Scrum Inc. team has expanded.

Openview uses Scrum everywhere for venture group operations. About 14 portfolio companies implement Scrum in software development and many of them use Scrum in sales, marketing, finance, admin, and even for the senior management teams.

For the next Certified ScrumMaster training at Openview see scrumfoundation.com.