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Published by:
IBS Center for Management Research (2008)
18 pages
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This case discusses software design and development company Menlo Innovations'' approach towards project management and innovation. Menlo''s founder and President, Richard Sheridan established the company in association with his colleagues based on Thomas Edison''s Invention Factory. Sheridan advocated the use of project management during software implementation. Menlo adopted agile project management practices namely extreme programming that helped it simultaneously run several projects successfully. This required employees to work in pairs encouraging knowledge sharing and learning from each other. Similar to Edison''s Invention Factory, the culture at Menlo was characterised by an open, flexible, and collaborative working environment. The case also discusses Menlo''s flexible workplace practices that helped it in curbing attrition and employee retention, while its innovative approach to project management encouraged employee engagement and led to innovation. However, a few analysts opined that it remained to be seen whether Menlo''s flexible workplace approach could also be applied in a corporate environment. The case will help students to: (1) understand how Sheridan and the other co-founders at Menlo fostered innovation at the company; (2) compare and contrast Menlo''s approach to project management with the practices of traditional software project management; (3) understand the significance of project management in the success of a company; (4) understand the rationale behind Sheridan adopting a flexible approach to the workplace based on Edison''s Invention Factory; (5) understand how the implementation of an innovative working environment benefits the company and the employees; and (6) discuss the challenges faced in implementing such a system in a corporate environment. This case is meant for MBA / MS students as part of the operations management curriculum. It can also be used in the human resource management / organisational behaviour curriculum. The teaching note includes the abstract, teaching objectives and target audience, teaching methodology, assignment questions, feedback of case discussion, and suggested readings and references. It does not contain an analysis of the case.


Project management; Agile project management; Extreme programming; Innovation; Business strategy; Workplace flexibility; Work-life balance; Extreme interviewing; High-tech anthropology; Organisational culture; Team building; Employee retention; Employee engagement; Information technology; Software development
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