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The purpose of this assignment is to enhance students’ ability to frame a problem in the context of quantitative decision analysis, to organize and analyze data by using the appropriate quantitative tools and computer programs, and to present the results and implications of the results.

1) Case Study

Students in ISDS 3711 are introduced to different quantitative tools. They practice how to apply these tools, how to formulate problems and how to solve them using Excel and different Excel add-ins in the HW assignments. Problems in HW assignments are typically well structured. The students are told which tool they should apply and they are provided with the data that they need. These structured HW assignments do not teach students how to approach an unstructured decision situation where it is not clear which tools to apply and which information to collect. The following HW assignment has been developed as a way for students to practice these important skills.

The assignment is based on the Case: Project Portfolio Management at XYZ Pharma that was developed at London School of Economics. The case describes the R&D project selection and prioritization problem at a major pharmaceutical company, a recurrent issue of strategic importance to the company. Students will not be asked to conduct an actual quantitative analysis but to start thinking about how they would frame the project, which quantitative tools they might use and which information to collect.

Students will work on this assignment individually. They will be asked to read the case and then answer the following questions. We do not ask the students to actually conduct a quantitative analysis but we ask them to formulate the problem in the context a quantitative analysis.

Part 1 – Framing the Project Portfolio Management Problem
Develop a decision framework for project portfolio management at XYZ:
• What are the objectives?
• What are the constraints?
• What are the risks involved?
• What are your alternatives?
• What information is required for project portfolio management at XYZ and how can it be collected?

Part 2 – Project Valuation
Before thinking about appropriate portfolio decisions, the value of each project in the portfolio needs to be determined. How would you determine the value of the following project (‘Project 1’) in XYZ’s portfolio, a project in the pre-clinical phase, part of the Oncology therapeutic area? What additional information would you collect? Which quantitative tool(s) might help you in determining the value of the project?


Part 3 – Project Risk
When implementing project 1, you face technical and market risk. How would you assess the risks embedded in Project 1? What additional information would you collect? Which quantitative tool(s) might help you in determining the project risk?

Part 4 – Project Portfolio Decisions
Suppose that next year’s R&D budget for the oncology area has been reduced to $50 million. How would you decide which projects to continue, and which to put on hold? What additional information would you collect? Which quantitative tool(s) might help you in determining the best portfolio?

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    September 2005

    Project Portfolio Management
    at XYZ Pharma
    Early morning, Monday 29th August 2005. John Smith, head of portfolio management and strategic
    planning, was paging through the slides he...
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