This course is a prerequisite for E-Commerce (Part II).
The aims of this course are to introduce students to all the
things that go to making a successful project or product other than
just the programming. The course will survey some of the issues that
students are likely to encounter in the world of commerce and that
need to be considered when setting up a new computer company. It will
be illustrated with guest lectures and case studies from leading
industrialists and former members of the Computer Laboratory who have
started their own companies.
So you've got an idea?
Introduction. Why are you doing it and what is it? Types of
company. Market analysis. The business plan. Futures: some emerging
ideas for new computer businesses.
Money and tools for its management.
Introduction to accounting: profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet,
budgets. Sources of finance. Stocks and shares. Options and futures.
Setting up: legal aspects.
Company formation. Brief introduction to business law; duties of
directors. Shares, stock options, profit share schemes and the like.
Intellectual Property Rights, patents, trademarks and
copyright. Company culture and management theory.
Motivating factors. Groups and teams. Ego. Hiring and firing:
employment law. Interviews. Meeting techniques.
Project planning and management.
Role of a manager. PERT and GANTT charts, and critical path
analysis. Estimation techniques. Monitoring.
Quality, maintenance and documentation.
Development cycle. Productisation. Plan for quality. Plan for
maintenance. Plan for documentation.
Marketing and selling.
Sales and marketing are different. Marketing; channels; marketing
communications. Stages in selling. Control and commissions.
Growth and exit routes.
New markets: horizontal and vertical expansion. Problems of growth;
second system effects. Management structures. Communication. Exit
routes: acquisition, floatation, MBO or
liquidation. Summary. Conclusion: now you do it!
In addition to the above, there will be four guest lecturers.
At the end of the course students should
be able to write and analyse a business plan
know how to construct PERT and GANTT diagrams and perform critical
appreciate the differences between profitability and cash flow, and
have some notion of budget estimation
have an outline view of company formation, share structure, capital
raising, growth and exit routes
have been introduced to concepts of team formation and management
know about quality documentation and productisation processes
understand the rudiments of marketing and the sales process
Lang, J. (2001). The high-tech entrepreneur's handbook: how to start and run a high-tech company. FT.COM/Prentice Hall.
Brooks, F.P. (1975). The mythical man month. Addison-Wesley.
Townsend, R. (1971). Up the organization: how to stop the company stifling people and strangling profits. Hodder Fawcett (now out of print but try a library or www.bookfinder.com).
Dyson, J.R. (1994). Accounting for non-accounting students. Pitman (3rd ed.).
Varian, H.R. (1999). Intermediate microeconomics: a modern approach. W.W. Norton (5th ed.).
Institute of Directors (1985). Guidelines for directors. London: Director Publications.
Weinberg, G.M. (1971). The psychology of computer programming. Van Nostrand.
Anon. (1985). The Cambridge phenomenon. Cambridge: Segal Quince and Partners.
Experience with Microsoft Project would be helpful.