Menlo Innovations: A New Approach to Workplace & Project Management


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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:

Price:

Case Code : OPER069 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges

Themes

Project Management, Innovations, Workplace flexibility

Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 2001-2008
Organization : Menlo Innovations
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Not Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Computers, IT and ITeS

Abstract:

This case discusses software design and development company Menlo Innovations' (Menlo) approach towards project management and innovation. Menlo's founder and president, Richard Sheridan (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 characterized by an open, flexible, and a 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.

Issues:

Understand how Sheridan and the other co-founders at Menlo fostered innovation at the company.

Compare and contrast Menlo's approach to project management with the practices of traditional software project management.

Understand the significance of project management in the success of a company.

Understand the rationale behind Sheridan adopting a flexible approach to workplace based on Edison's Invention Factory.

Understand how the implementation of an innovative working environment benefits the company and the employees.

Discuss the challenges faced in implementing such a system in a corporate environment.

Contents:

  Page No.
A New Kind of Workplace 1
Richard Sheridan & His Early Career 2
Menlo Innovations 3
Menlo's Approach to Project Management 5
Adopting a 'Flexible' Approach 9
Results 10
Exhibits 12

Keywords:

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

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