Is Project Management Skills Necessary to Deliver Life Sciences Programs?


The answer to this question can be given only if we understand the two aspects that are asked in the question: project management and life sciences. While life sciences are easy to understand as it primarily deals with pharmaceutical and bionic products, project management is a different genre altogether.

Project Management is such an aspect that can be practically used in delivering any kind of task, project management skills can be utilized even without understanding that we are using them.

Project Management: The hidden workforce behind any task

Project Management can be defined as a process employed for achieving certain goals usually by a team and in turn leading the team to get to the goal deadline within a stipulated amount of time. Even though the definition of project management seems to be easy on the surface, there are multiple constraints, which make project management quite a difficult task.

Despite the difficulty, project management is not an impossible feat and is a lucrative career opportunity for many. The initial implication of project management was usually found in civil engineering and architectural projects way back in the 1900s.

It was the architect or the lead engineer who usually managed these projects all by themselves delivering the project in due time and budget along with flawless quality. However, as more and more fields in engineering and technology developed, the need for a separate branch of project management evolved.

Modern project management has been in existence since the early 1950s. It was during this period that the core engineering branches synergized to work as single fields.

Besides, this period also saw the rise of information and technology in the form of computer development and digitization of some major areas like banking, logistics, telecommunications, etc. As more and more projects and programs started building up the need for a streamlined process for project management became the need of the day.

Project Management Components and Constraints

In the modern world, any kind of project whether related to IT or not is always managed by professionals who expertise in the field of project management. There are three live components to any project when they are initialized:

  • Owner: They are a person or organization who commissions the project to happen. For example, a banking giant that wants its retail monetary transaction to be done online can be considered as the owner of the project.
  • Executor: They are the individuals or teams to whom the owner gives the commission of the project or program, to complete the task they have in their mind. Considering the above example, an executor, in this case, might be an Information and Technology Service based company that would be able to code and deploy as real-time web pages.
  • End-user: They can be either the owner or the customers the owner caters to, who would be the endpoint of the benefits distributed by the completion of the project or program. In this case, an end-user would be a retail customer of the bank who would not need to come to the bank every time they need to make a transaction as it can be done from anywhere having a proper internet connection.

As we understand the live components of any project, there is also the factor of non-living components in a project, which vary from one to another. Another factor that any project would comprise is the constraints. Constraints and their efficient management make and break a project. Constraints are also categorized into three major sections:

  • Scope: This consists of the customer requirement that needs to be delivered. For example, the owner who wants to build a residential building can be considered as the scope of a project.
  • Budget: This consists of the amount of money allocated for the project. Bringing in the above example, the customer wants the building to cost not more than one hundred thousand USD, thus deciding the budget of the project to become 100,000 USD.
  • Time: This consists of the stipulated period during which the owner wants the project to be completed. Like in the above example, the client wants the building to be completed within a year, thereby making the project deadline to be within a year.

These three constraints are extremely important to maintain project quality. Compromising on any of these project constraints would call for poor quality delivery thus making the project a complete failure.

Where does project management come into play for life sciences programs?

Coming back to the initial question asked at the very beginning of this article, the answer to it is straightforward. Project Management skills are entirely necessary to deliver any kind of life sciences project.

Considering the current pandemic situation life science project management is an extremely necessary measure for developing the correct vaccine to combat the deadly virus.

One might wonder where project management skills with their components and constraints come into play for life sciences products like medicines and bionic devices. The confusion can be cleared by providing a simple example.

Considering the pandemic situation, any pharmaceutical company that intends to build the vaccine would be considered the owner. The team who would research and effectively build the vaccine would be executors and the mass population who would be benefitted from this vaccine invention would be the end-users.

The constraints in this example also remain the same where the pharmaceutical company would have defined a certain timeline and a definite budget for making these vaccines thereby making two of the constraints of the project.

The requirement or the scope is vaccine creation in this case. The quality is the most important outcome of this project where there would be no adverse effect to the end-users and they would be effectively protected against this deadly virus.

Considering the huge range of such a program an efficient project management professional is extremely necessary to overlook these functions so that all these stages are carried out effectively without any hiccups. In case, there are some impending blockers project management professionals also take ample care to remove them so that the program gets delivered seamlessly.