I have just published the software I wrote for my MBA in Strategic Management of Technology Innovation.
A slightly customized version of the software is currently in use as a innovation funnel at INdT.
It is a commonly accepted fact in business that social projects bring some
tangible beneﬁts to an organization. Unfortunately, even if the project is
very successful this often does not impact directly on the ﬁnancial bottom line. And, in a world of razor-thin margins, a set of activities that drive up corporate cost without any directly identiﬁable return is a tough sell, no matter how worthwhile and noble the project might be. The business case for social projects is therefore contingent on ﬁnding a suitable method for
valuation — one that allows managers to understand the implications of an
indirect beneﬁt and then make ’intelligent’ decisions about which projects to
choose and the most feasible level of resources to commit.
I approached the problem using techniques from agile development. Scrum sizings were run with stakeholders experienced in the type of project under evaluation which estimated the intangible values present in the social project.The values were then
passed into an algorithm which ran an economic analysis of the project with its associated series of estimates as projected ‘cash-flows’. The economic indicators calculated are net present value, internal rate of return and eﬃciency of investment
Projects are then ranked on their efficiency of social investment score.
The customization used at INdT is that instead of using scrum estimates the software has values assigned by answering questions. This makes the software then useful for all kinds of projects.The following questions were used
- What is the quality of information presented.?
- How much does this project align with
- What is the probability that the project will build competencies?
- The project opens new, significant markets for
customers (What is the potential for market and revenue creation?)
- What is the project’s capacity to leverage
competitive position (Impact on competition)
- If the project is approved what is the span of possible applications that the resulting product might be applied to?
- Are there any IPR implications?
- What is the technological feasibility of the project?
- Assuming the project is implemented the set up costs of it are likely to be?
- What are the technological risks?
and the software also has a ‘stage-gate’ built in now so that projects can be eliminated early on if some basic requirements are not met. Things like the project conflicting with the current portfolio or not adding value fit this description.
The software is published under the AGPL and it uses a standard Django set up. It should be relatively bug free but YMMV depending on what you want to do with it. The full thesis –
How to choose social investment projects by calculating their eﬃciency of investment using agile software development techniques – is available to download here. Enjoy!