Case Detail

Case Summary

Clothes 'R' Us Point-of-Sale Initiative: Managing IT Programs

Case Number: 5-404-765, Year Published: 2006

HBS Number: KEL304

Request PreviewBuy

Authors: Derek Yung; Joseph Norton; Alex Gershbeyn

Key Concepts

Project Management, Program Management, Risk Management, IT Management, Earned Value, Customer Relationship Management, CRM, Project Governance


The case concerns a real $25 million program consisting of nine concurrent projects to deliver and implement a custom built in-store Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and a new point-of-sale system in 400 stores of a national retail chain. The name of the company has been disguised for confidentiality reasons. Once deployed the system should give Clothes-R-Us a significant strategic advantage over competitors in the marketplace; with the new system, in-store manager productivity should increase, the system will cut costs, and ultimately drive increased sales for the retail chain. The program is in crisis, however, since the product managers have just left to join a competitor. The explicit details of the program are given, including examples of best practice program governance and the real activity network diagram for the program. Detailed Excel spreadsheets are also provided with the actual earned value data for the program. Students analyze the spreadsheets and the data given in the case to diagnose the impact of the most recent risk event, and past risk events that occurred in the program. Ultimately, students must answer the essential executive questions: What is wrong with the program? How should it be fixed and what is the impact in time and money to the program? In addition, qualitative warning signs are given throughout the case—these warning signs are red flags to executives for early proactive intervention in troubled projects.

Number of Pages: 15

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Management, Marketing, Operations, Technology

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: United States

Industry: Retail Clothing

Organization Name: Clothes 'R' Us (Disguised)

Organization Department: IT

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: CIO

Decision Maker Gender: Female

Year of Case: 2002