A $7 Billion Disaster…
doesn’t happen by accident!
When failures are routine…
Success seems like an exception!
CHAOS Report 2015 studied 50,000 projects, https://www.infoq.com/articles/standish-chaos-2015
Overruns are normal…
and might perhaps be sign of life, after all!
At least since 1994 :)
CHAOS Report Data, 1994-2015
How does a project
get to be a year
The Mythical Man-Month, 1975
…One day at a time!
Projects die slow death…
Day-to-day decline is often invisible!
“…When one hears of disastrous
schedule slippage in a project, he
imagines that a series of major
calamities must have befallen it.
Usually, however, the disaster is due
to termites, not tornadoes; and the
schedule has slipped imperceptibly
Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month, 1975
Imagine a project…
Pretty much anything can be seen as one!
Iron Triangle of PM
Constraints facilitate success criteria!
Holy Grail of Software
Faster, Better, Cheaper
You can choose only two at a time!
Keep time ﬁxed => Costs Go Up!
Keep cost ﬁxed => Time Goes Up!
Keep Scope ﬁxed => Costs Go Up!
Keep Cost ﬁxed => Scope Must Come Down!
Keep Scope ﬁxed => Time Goes Up!
Keep Time ﬁxed => Scope Must Come Down!
Case Study: Delhi Metro
Modern day wonder…from India!
Timeline and Achievements
1995: Planning began
1998: Construction started
2002: First trains ran
2016: 2.6m passengers a day
2021: To carry 6m passengers a day. Will be bigger than London Metro
Every stage completed on time, within budget
99.97% trains arrive within a minute of schedule
They are clean, cool and safe
It is proﬁtable!
Case Study: Medtronic
1949: $8 revenue in ﬁrst month of operation!
1962: Revenue $500,000. Losses $144,000. On the edge of bankruptcy
1963: Revenue $985,000. Proﬁts $73,000.
1980-90s: Enjoyed 18%+ y-o-y growth
1989: 2 year old products accounted for 40% revenues, up from 14% just
6 years back
Employees with good ideas given $50k initial funding
More than 2/3rd revenue come from products introduced in last two years
The original Roadmap
The Art of Business: In the Footsteps of Giants - Raymond Tzuu Yeh, et all
Increased R&D budget from 9% to 12%
Initiated 12 radical innovations that challenged traditional businesses
Organised around small venture units, incubating them separately (and far
away) from existing businesses, with full support from execs.
Had independent budgets and greater freedom to deploy these “small bets”
reinvention of mainstream coronary artery bypass surgery. Now accounts
for 20% of heart surgeries!
Super low-cost pacemaker that reduced production costs by 80%. but
never became a big seller, but its ideas led to 40% cost reduction across
the product lines.
15 Keys to R&D Success
Art Colins, 2016
1. While organizational structure and process count, creative and
motivated people ultimately make the diﬀerence.
2. The popular concept of “Too Big Too Fail” that has been used to
describe some mega banks can be modiﬁed to read “Too Big Will Fail”
for most R&D organizations.
3. Beware of excess layers of bureaucracy and unnecessary meetings—if
an activity or structure adds value, streamline it; if not, get rid of it.
4. Listen to your customer, and ALWAYS clearly deﬁne what problem
you are solving for BEFORE commencing any R&D project.
5. Only invent what is required: greater invention (both amount and
magnitude) = greater complexity and risk.
6. Since every new product has a deﬁned life cycle and endpoint, time to market is critical for
7. Include early input from those who will eventually bring the product to market (e.g., clinical &
regulatory, manufacturing & distribution, marketing & sales, etc.).
8. Clearly deﬁne objectives, assign authority and responsibility for key activities and decision-
making, and always focus on the critical path items.
9. Be aggressively realistic with schedules—create a sense of urgency, but remember that “all
green lights” scenarios hardly ever happen.
10.Don’t be afraid to go outside for expertise if it is needed, continually guarding against the
“not invented here” syndrome.
11.Killing a project that will never be successful does not equate to failure; R&D teams should
be rewarded rather than punished if they recommend this course of action.
12.Attempting too many projects at once generally ensures that none of the projects will be
13.Encourage people to attack ideas, but never each other—this is very easy to say, but hard
to put into practice.
14.ALWAYS comply with existing laws and regulatory requirements, and NEVER sacriﬁce safety.
15.Don’t forget to celebrate individual and team victories (both large and small) as they occur
—and while you should take what you do very seriously, don’t take yourself too seriously!
Beneﬁts from Agile
VersionOne 10th State of Agile Report, 2016
Projects are vehicles of progress. The higher the risk,
the larger its impact. However, high risk often invites
However, projects by themselves are fairly useless! It is
the people who plan, execute and deliver them.
In software, agile has better success rate than
traditional waterfall-driven methods.
Agile is more of mindset and culture than method,
process and tools
The Mythical Man-Month - Fred Brooks
Interview: Jim Johnson of the Standish Group, https://
Standish Group 2015 Chaos Report - Q&A with Jennifer
The Idea that Led to 10 Years of Double-Digit Growth,