Project management workshop: Emphasis on crucial role of ‘PM’ in life sciences

Biotech Project Management Workshop attendees listened intently.

Biotech Project Management Workshop attendees listen intently. (Photo by Felicia Murray)

 

UC San Diego Extension and the San Diego Biotechnology Network (SDBN) co-hosted the “Global Biotechnology Project Management Workshop and Networking Event” on Nov. 17, 2014.

Held at Green Flash brewery, the first-time event featured local biotech project managers who spoke about project management (PM) challenges and opportunities within the life science industry.

Yves Theriault, founder/president of the California Institute for Performance Management and an Extension instructor, began the presentations with an overview of the importance of project management.

He highlighted the need to define and measure performance metrics. The success of the organization, he said, ultimately depends on the performance and multidirectional alignment of individual projects.

Theriault also spoke about the need for PM in traditional discovery or research and development groups, including academic labs.

Kevin Tays, Associate Director of Project Management at Janssen Research & Development, spoke next about successful project initiation.

Tays said setting an early strategy is crucial for the drug development projects he manages, including considering the target patients, indications, efficacy, safety, value/pricing, and dosing. He added that he must also include strategies for emerging global markets.

Tays said that at Janssen, their 250 project managers can be “your best friend” as they have a unique view of the project they manage and can give important insights to the rationale behind projects and their goals.

Steve Linton, recently Director of Project Management at Halozyme, discussed stakeholder and risk management. He emphasized the importance of building trust in order to get buy-in from all stakeholders.

Jenny Chaplin, Development Director at Pfizer, spoke about the soft skills — communication, friendliness, and cooperation — needed for successful PMs. She pointed out that the global component of today’s life science projects increases the need to communicate well, flexibly and appropriately.

In her closing remarks, Locke Epsten, Extension’s Director of Corporate Education, made a point to re-emphasize soft skills in successful project management.

In early 2015, Extension will again partner with SDBN to present the Biotech/Pharma Project Manager’s Toolkit. Take our short survey to learn more and receive a $50 discount.

To schedule a consultation about project management, management or life science training for your organization, contact Locke Epsten.

— Mary Canady

 

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