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July Event - Junk Bonds Versus IT Projects: Risk Adjusted Returns Compared

The Blurb:

Using standard methods from financial services, a risk adjusted return analysis of IT projects is presented.  The approach requires project performance be compared to a benchmark and explicitly incorporate a quantified notion of risk.  The results are quite different from those obtained using traditional project measures such as ROI, NPV or breakeven time, and can significantly enrich conversations with business stakeholders.  Indeed, officers of public companies with a fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder returns will find the results thought provoking.

Speaker Bio:

John Helm Principal, JHelm Associates

John Helm is a technology executive whose career spans academia, nonprofits, financial services, and technology companies.  He currently does technology management consulting to support his research into improving the financial performance of technology systems.

Previously John has been the VP of Engineering and CTO of, CTO of; founding President and COO of Umaxon, LLC; and, Head of Architecture, COO of Global Messaging and Collaboration Services and Chief Information Architect at Merrill Lynch. Additionally, John has held key technology management positions at Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley, served as the Director of Computer Services for the American Health foundation, and a survivor of three startups.  Prior to Wall St. John was a professor of Applied Physics at Columbia University.

Meeting Agenda:

  • 6:30 - 7:00: Food (brought you by Marchex) and Social Time

  • 7:00: Announcements


    Jobs sought/offered

    Next meeting

  • 7:10: Guest Speaker - John Helm

  • 8:00: Meeting Retrospective and Q&A

  • 8:30: Meeting ends, clean up

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  • Jeff S.

    I would have to concur - a great presentation. We struggle to clarify the potential risks in how we choose projects and methodologies - even if we look at anticipated ROI, there is more to the story. John presented a fairly simple and mathematical approach - that we could use to better observe, understand, question, and further analyze how these choices are made. Challenging the idea of Gaussian (normal) distribution - adds to the thought process - we should understand better how projects, estimates, people, and leaders behave and what influences different approaches hold. Kudos on references to Black Swan, Long Tail, and Cynefin also... Thinking tools that are not pulled in enough.

    July 25, 2013

    • John H.

      A pdf copy of the slides can be obtained from: http://jhelmassociate...­

      July 25, 2013

    • John H.

      For those who might have some interest in the thinking tools talk in progress for Agile 2013, here's the blurb:­ Thank you again for sharing your time with me last night.

      July 25, 2013

  • Steve H.

    Unique and extremely interesting talk by John Helm

    July 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry I couldnt leave work early today and missed the meetup. I have been doing Agile and Lean/Kanban recently. And would like to continue learning about this topic. Hope to see the group at next meet up.

    July 24, 2013

  • Chris S.

    I am hoping to be there.

    July 23, 2013

  • Shama B.

    As a PM and SM, I'd be very interested in your take on quantifying risks and benefits for Agile-run projects

    July 22, 2013

  • Todd

    We're in a transition phase from waterfall to Agile. Bumpy at times - would like to hear other experiences and ideas.

    July 19, 2013

  • Shawn Patrick H.

    Looking forward to hearing this presentation.

    July 4, 2013

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  • Marchex

    Marchex hosts and provides food for the Seattle Meetups.

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