PrivCo i.e. Private Company
Financial Intelligence is a private company located in flatiron district of
Manhattan in New York City that was founded in 2010 with an aim of providing
financial data of private companies to people that could help them in improving
their decision making.
It is a leading provider of
financial data of privately-held companies with detailed financial data of over
9,00,000 companies globally as well as deals data of nearly 130,000 private
company merger and acquisition, venture capital funding, private equity
transaction and IPOs. It’s main focus of business is to provide most exclusive
financial data on private companies around the world.
It maintains and updates robust
database of financial data of privately-held companies. It also has its own
platform where users could make searches of companies as per their need. For
example, if one has to search private companies in New York City in health-care
sector with revenues over $50 million, it could be done.
PrivCo has subscription based
revenue model and its clients include companies, private equity, market
research firms, universities, venture capital firms, angel investors etc. Also,
it provides an option to buy individual reports of private companies for single
It also provides an option to
integrate PrivCo’s data into other company’s work flow through either
salesforce integration or PrivCo API for a tailored integration of data into
any company’s systems.
A regular report of a private
company would include following things:
of organization, their area of operations, etc.
company’s financial data like revenues, profit/loss, etc.
year founded, revenue growth, address, etc.
company’s contacts like employee contacts, etc.
company’s updates, news and analysis.
Combination of various factors
resulted in choosing this organization as my final capstone project. These
include, firstly, I worked as an intern for summer and fall 2017. Secondly, due
to the easy availability and accessibility to data. Thirdly, a chance to
interact with product-team members and everyone else on an individual level
that might not be possible in a large or any other unknown organization.
I decided to work alone in this
project to test my strengths and weaknesses. Working alone, I got got a chance
to implement the ideas, methods and knowledge gathered during my Master’s
degree on an individual basis. Some of the advantages of working alone were becoming
independent, more clarity of thoughts since you are the only one who has to do
the work and decide what to do when. On the contrary, some disadvantages that I
experienced were long time in completing work, constraint of ideas, sole
responsibility, lack of other’s opinion (this was mostly mitigated by using
feedback from fellow students after each presentation and professor’s feedback).
The project that I was working on
for the past couple of months was product team at PrivCo often finds it
difficult to meet the deadlines for the projects. I was working on to find the
reason for this problem and suggest some ways to overcome or mitigate it.
By successfully finding the
reason and suggesting good counter measures to overcome it, this could help the
organization in a big way as the team could focus additional time and resources
on other projects that could ultimately lead to better product for existing and
Since I selected an organization first,
I had to select the problem accordingly. Something that would make sense and
whose outcome could benefit everyone and could be implemented in real life. By
working over there, I observed this problem of delays which I thought could be
tackled by me. After doing the research, I realized most of the organizations are
facing this problem of project delays.
According to a survey by PWC in
which they reviewed 10,640 projects over 200 companies across 30 countries,
only 2.7% of projects were completed on time. (Insert Citation). Similarly, in
an another survey by Harvard Business Review, they analyzed 1500 IT projects
out of which each project had cost overrun of 27%. More surprisingly, 1 out of
these 6 projects had an overrun cost of average 200%. (Insert Citation).
Considering overrun costs for PrivCo, cost of delays/day was around $3800/day
considering average wage of $65000/year for 15 people (Adding product and
Technology team) and material expense.
In the same survey conducted by
PWC, 57% of projects failed due to barrier in communication or collaboration.
These facts led me to realize importance of completing projects on time
especially in such a challenging environment of fierce competition.
design & tackling the biases
As discussed in previous lecture,
research design is the base of any project. If the project owner fails to
consider biases, then the project outcome may become prone to wrong assumptions
and calculations. This could offset the project from actual result and could
ultimately result in wastage of time and resources of the organization.
I planned to tackle the biases in
I understand it is one of most
commonly encountered bias, where bias exists due to improper sample size, not
because of sheer number but the kind of sample taken. To be free of sampling
bias I included both product team as well as the technology team because they
work closely on numerous projects.
My understanding of survivor bias
is if we are concentrating so much on successful stories we tend to neglect number
of people who failed. I guess it is important to look at both the sides of the
coin. I included certain questions like, “Were you able to complete your
every-day part of the project on daily basis?” I believe these kind of
questions would help me to analyze people who were able to complete their tasks
on time and who weren’t. And if the delays are caused because of certain
people, they could be identified.
It is all about looking things as
a whole and not just parts of it. During my entire phase of collecting data and
making inferences, it is important that I look at them as a whole. Having the
perspective of bits and pieces of things might give rise to such biases. Also,
it is important to analyze data related to projects where entire team worked on
and not just any project where some people worked and some didn’t.
This would be one the the most
commonly found bias. I already experienced it once, at the time of selecting
the project. Even after selecting this problem, while I was thinking about what
could be the potential reasons for not meeting timelines, all the ideas that
crossed my mind, you tend to believe it could be the real reason but only after
proper consideration of facts, you come to know that was not the case.
Once I decided the problem that I
was going to work on, my project was initiated by assessing the work
environment, since I was present physically, it helped me to understand what
were the processes to get the work done.
I conducted total 4 interviews
which included 2 from product team and 2 from technology team. They were more
of an informal meeting which resulted in causal conversations that helped me to
know the culture inside out.
I asked them numerous questions
related to their work. These included:
the deadlines realistic?
there any bottleneck in the system?
What was their thought
on the performance of everyone else in the team?
Were people too much focused on
What was general idea of
collaboration within the team?
What were there thoughts on the
While analyzing the responses, I noticed all the answers
were in-line of yes, deadlines are realistic, they couldn’t think of any
bottleneck in system, everyone did their part in team, etc. This led me to
believe that there’s something that people are failing to recognize. Everyone
had skill they needed to get the work done still projects were getting delayed.
Next step in my project was to find some compelling evidence
about the delays. For this I analyzed past projects on which teams worked on.
First of all, I analyzed projects of product team using our tracking logs and
found that projects that involved just the product team completed on time.
Second, I started analyzing past projects of technology
team, they were also analyzed using the tracking logs to see if the work
scheduled was completed on time or not. To my surprise, even technology team
completed their projects on time. Third, I analyzed projects where product and technology
team together, these are the projects that always got delayed. Due to this I
concluded the problem lies in bad collaboration.
Importance of Good Collaboration
Good collaboration is always important in problem solving.
When a variety of knowledge and skills are pooled together, it results in a
talent pool that is more competent, able and experienced. Good collaboration
also helps to showcase variety of skills and expertise of the employees.
It is really important to understand the importance of good collaboration,
diving into the deep I realized that initially there was just one team that was
responsible for technology as well as product instead of separate technology
and product teams. But as company grew teams were created. When there was just one
team, there were no issues with collaboration. Projects use to get over on
According to a survey, employees who are collaborative and
engaged are 87% less likely to leave their organization. (insert citation,
Ultimate software). Organizations could good collaboration to retain good
talent within the organization as it is always difficult to retain good
During the interviews, analyzing the responses I realized it’s
not that people don’t want to be collaborative but couldn’t find a way in.
Everyone wants to give their 100% to solve the problem of delays and wish best
for their team and colleagues. It is because of bad collaboration they couldn’t
deliver. Also, according to study, 3 out of 4 employees i.e. 75% of employees’
rate collaboration and teamwork very important. (Insert citation)
Effects of Bad Collaboration
“Bad Collaboration is worst than no collaboration.” When
collaboration does not have its desired effect leads to lower efficiency,
productivity and wastage of resources. It has a negative impact on culture and
During my interviews, one of the technology team member
told, “it feels like things are not adding up fine.” Another product member mentioned,
“we have our meetings but still work is not happening as planned.” There were many
instances that directed in the direction on something’s wrong with the
collaboration in the teams.
According to a survey, lack of collaboration and
communication results in a loss of average $12000/employee. (insert citation).
During interviews one product member said following, “we only talk about work”
and “sometimes we only talk once or twice a week.” Lack of communication also
added in bad collaboration.
After gathering all the data and conducting interviews, I
came to an understanding that real reason behind the delays was bad collaboration.
It was due to bad collaboration that team members were not able to plan
properly and work together.
This is where class lectures came in handy, we were taught about
barriers to collaboration. These are as follows:
As the name suggests, it is the problem created due to not
going out of the way to solve any problem and sticking to your own work. Also,
we know incentive is biggest motivator to do things since there’s no incentive
to go out of the way to collaborate no one does. So not-invented-here problem
is one of the main reasons for bad collaboration
An example of this was while working over there, I noticed
that team member didn’t favor changing the work processes even if new processes
optimized the work. A reason for this might be they would need to convey this decision
across the board which was a tough job to do.
This is because of nature of work that is totally different
being done in both the teams. It’s difficult for both the teams to be on the
same page. They are not able to communicate effectively. They fail to understand
and convey their thoughts. A good example of this would be usage of too many technical
and complicated terms during the meetings. I have seen people, after meeting,
going to their desks and understanding the meaning of words. This takes more
time and reduces the productivity.
Hoarding problem is essentially related to people not
helping other people thinking they might loose the edge of knowledge. But that
was something I didn’t found at PrivCo. Everyone was ready to helpful each
Search problem is related to when people can’t find right
resources to get the work done. It is generally evident in big companies where
there’s an abundance of resources. Since this was not the case over here,
search problem was not as issue.
So not-invented-here and transfer problems were the reason behind
bad collaboration. While analyzing the data from interviews, when I asked team
members about “do people tend to focus more on personal projects than group
projects?” I got the answer yes, people do tend to focus on their own projects
due to which group projects gets delayed.
So in my opinion, primary reason for the delays of projects
is bad collaboration and secondary reason is due to too much importance on
personal projects. A combination of these two things is leading to delays of
projects causing wastage of resources and time.
First and most important solution would be to overhaul incentive
structure. It should be based upon good collaboration. Incentive structure
should be such that rewards are based on achievement of team goals and milestones.
This could be also done by linking individual reviews to
their performance of good collaboration. For example, as professor mentioned in
lecture of T-shaped management, Bain and Company came up with a reward system
where 50% of bonus is based upon individual performance and another 50% demonstrated
Second solution is to establish strong ties with-in the
teams. Strong ties between the employees helps them to adapt in a better way. It
helps to convey their ideas and solutions more effectively which is something
they couldn’t do properly. This could be done by increasing informal interaction
between the teams.
For example, informal interactions could be increased by
encouraging management to organize more social events, company picnics, company
lunch, etc. to increase team bonding. Also, it is important to convey goals and
lay proper groundwork about a new project in first meeting itself so that goals
and parameters are set for true collaboration.
Third solution would be introducing the concept of T-shaped
management. As taught in class we know that in a T-shaped management, in T the vertical
line stands for depth of knowledge or knowledge in your field of work and horizontal
line stands for cross unit collaboration.
As per current situation, teams have vertical lines i.e.
depth of knowledge but they lack horizontal line i.e. cross unit collaboration.
This is because of totally different field of work being done in both the
teams. So if technology team could gather at least basic knowledge of product
related things and similarly product team could learn basic things about
technology behind the product, this could lead to kick start cross-unit
Limitations/Potential Side Effects
of introducing these solutions
With implementation of any new idea there’s always going to
be some limitation. Some side effects that people might have to undergo could be
Personal Projects might suffer – Since after implementing
these solutions, more focus be on collaboration and team-work, it’s possible
personal projects might suffer due to this. Also, many people tend to work
alone and also have higher productivity working alone. These kind of people
might face difficulty in adapting to new changes at PrivCo
Another significant potential side effect maybe, currently
people are accustomed in a certain way of working so it might be difficult to transition
to work in a new way at least initially but in my opinion that’s what best for the
As everyone’s opinion is considered in a good collaboration,
some people like to convey their ideas more freely whereas some people don’t.
So there’s a chance that some people might over-influence the group thinking.
Also, as strong ties increase within the teams, people start
to know about each other in much better way. Naturally they know their strengths
and weaknesses. Due to this decision making might get difficult. In my opinion,
in a long run this might only help the organization to strive for better
Introducing the concept of T-shaped management could help
but at the same time, PrivCo might have to invest some resources in getting
them to learn each other’s basic ideas. Even after knowing, it might take some
time to reflect these changes and see them translating on paper.
As I was working alone on this project, I didn’t have to
submit any peer evaluation. Still I would like to express my thoughts about
this project and course. In my opinion, it’s always difficult to apply theoretical
knowledge in practical world and practical problems. It’s my belief that I was
able to get to the real core of problem with the help of professor and my
peers. It was great experience or I would say more professional experience
coming in each week to get to know some new relevant concepts and present your
project progress. Also, presenting every other week with progress is a great
way to keep the progress in check and also get new ideas and feedback from the
peers. This capstone project course has been one of the best courses I have
taken. I believe there’s always a chance of improvement but presenting these
solutions might really help PrivCo to overcome their problems.