5 Tips for Successful Project Management in Clinical Research

April Schultz
January 19th, 2017

Project management is a key part of every successful business, and the clinical research industry is no exception. Research organizations regularly encounter multi-tiered projects, such as system implementations and integrations. In essence, every clinical trial is a complex project that requires adequate planning and leadership to be successful.¹

Though these projects are a fundamental part of the research industry, many organizations have inefficient or non-existent project management processes. These inefficiencies can lead to excess spending, extended timelines and wasted effort.¹ However, such unfortunate outcomes can be avoided if organizations use proven project management practices throughout the lifecycle of each project.²

Here, we list five basic tips for improving your project management practices and reducing the risk of project complications:

1. Designate an experienced project manager

A project manager is the glue that will hold your project together. This person acts as the bridge between all teams and stakeholders on the project and is the point person for all related tasks and materials.

Project management is a skill honed by experience and training. When designating a project manager, choose someone who has experience leading successful projects and understands the steps necessary to carry out complex assignments.¹

2. Communicate effectively with all project staff

Communication is essential to the success of any project at your research organization. At the beginning of each project, outline clear communication guidelines and ensure every team member fully understands what they need to accomplish to make the project successful.¹

Your project manager is in charge of communicating and filtering information to the right individuals throughout the project lifecycle. It is essential the project manager continually update all team members on any progress or changes that occur during regular meetings and check-ins.

3. Be willing to prioritize and negotiate project elements

Navigating the constraints of complex projects like clinical trials requires the ability to negotiate project priorities. Time, cost and quality are often conflicting elements of a project, and each element must be prioritized up front to determine what makes the project successful.¹

These upfront discussions also allow the project manager to adapt to unforeseen changes throughout the project lifecycle. For example, based on negotiations in the planning stages, the project manager may allocate a specific amount of the budget to prepare for any clinical trial protocol amendments that may occur.

4. Analyze progress and adjust project strategy

Throughout the course of a project, analyze progress data to ensure your processes are effective and timelines are being met. This continuous analysis of project performance will require your team to remain flexible and adjust your methods based on findings. When you find an area in need of improvement, make the necessary changes or additions to ensure the project is successful. Communicate project performance and other findings to all team members before making changes.

5. Collect all project information in one location

Keeping all necessary information in one designated location will allow for better project analysis and increase response rate when adjustments are needed. For example, when conducting a data analysis (as mentioned above) you may find the study has encountered an unexpected problem during study activation. With all the project information in one place, you can quickly determine the necessary changes or additions needed to get your project back on track with minimal damage.¹


Article resources:

  1. http://www.imperialcrs.com/files/ebooks/Effective_Project_Management_For_Clinical_Trials.pdf
  2. http://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/thought-leadership/pulse/pulse-of-the-profession-2016.pdf
  3. https://forteresearch.com/news/project-planning-for-successful-clinical-trials/

Learn more

Watch our free, on-demand webinar, Streamline Your Clinical Trial Workload with Effective Project Management, to learn more about the essential factors of effective clinical trial project management and gain tips to help you successfully manage your individual research portfolio. Watch the recording today!

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