PROMETRIKA, LLC. is a full-service CRO whose clients include national and international biopharmaceutical and medical device companies. In the clinical research environment, even “simple” studies become significant projects spanning multiple companies, teams, investigators, and regulatory bodies. Given such complexity, our Project Managers (PMs) are critical to effective management of all services and functions that contribute to the success of a project.
In our industry, the PM role is well-known, but what makes an effective PM? Before diving into that question, it is important to better understand what PROMETRIKA’s PMs do on a routine basis. PM responsibilities fall into two broad categories: 1) perform project management activities including oversite of internal project-related finances and supervision of assigned project staff, and 2) provide supporting services to other functional areas as needed.
These two sets of responsibilities obviously encompass many, more granular activities. An easy way of thinking about the first responsibility is to consider what it takes to build a house. There are lots of skilled workers involved, each experienced in their given specialty (e.g., plumbing, electrical, construction). However, without a foreman to step back and guide how everyone is working together, construction most likely will not go smoothly. Think of the PM as the foreman of a clinical study. Sticking with the analogy, a good foreman will know enough about the nitty, gritty tasks to be able to help with the day-to-day work as needed so that each task stays on track. Similarly, our PMs, by nature of their cross-functional role, have experience in almost all aspects of clinical trials which allows them to fulfill their second obligation to support other functional teams.
So, back to our original question: what makes an effective PM? Considering that the PM’s primary responsibility is to guide disparate teams toward a common goal, the ability to lead is the deciding factor in what makes a good PM. Though there are as many approaches to leadership as there are PMs, the end goal of any approach is to ensure that all teams are working together toward the common goal of successfully completing the project.