Many project management skills are established through experience and a concrete understanding of the five-step planning process. An unskilled project manager can lead to improper planning and failure of a clinical trial.¹ This problem is often the result of an individual’s minimal experience managing complex clinical research projects. Ensuring a trial is under the direction of a skilled clinical trial project manager establishes the first step toward a compliant and successful trial. When designating or hiring a project manager for your clinical research organization, attempt to choose an individual who possesses these skills and qualities:
1. Effective communication
According to a survey published in Applied Clinical Trials, communication is the number one skill of a successful project manager. Someone in this role directs the flow of communication among all stakeholders and acts as a central figure for project details. An ideal project manager assesses and implements the best strategies for project communication across team members. To be an effective communicator, the project manager must be patient, straightforward and attentive with each member of the team, leadership and all others involved.
2. Interpersonal skills
Most projects, including clinical trials, require participation from multiple stakeholders in different departments. The ideal project manager knows how to lead a diverse team across varied levels of leadership, play to the strengths of each department and delegate tasks to appropriate individuals.
The project manager should also empower their team to encourage quality work. Challenges often arise during the clinical trial process, and it’s the project manager’s responsibility to motivate the team and find solutions for any difficulties.
3. Experience and organization
Good project managers have experience in leadership positions and have played active roles in the project planning of multiple clinical trials. This person should have a good understanding of the five-steps of project management and has implemented them on other projects. These experiences allow the individual to better problem-solve and make strategic decisions when needed.
Disciplined organizational skills are also necessary for a project management position. The project manager is the point person for all project related information, and it is essential they have a system for keeping track of materials, tasks, individual responsibilities and more.
Project management positions require foresight. This means the project manager needs to use their field knowledge to anticipate potential issues with a clinical trial. This foresight allows them to proactively implement strategies to avoid predicted complications and increase the potential for success.²
- ¹Cyntegrity: 7 Reasons Why Clinical Trials Fail
- ²Imperial CRS: Effective Project Management for Clinical Trials
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on February 15, 2017.
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