The future of project management?

09 Jul 2013 3min read

Team Discussion

Multiple authors

Large scale projects are happening around us all the time, The Shard, HS2 and Cross Rail are just three examples of major contemporary jobs which have raised a multitude of problems and issues

Following our mention in The Times Newspaper’s Project Management supplement yesterday I thought we’d explore the complex challenges of project management. Especially as it’s easy to forget that often medical devices can be worth more than skyscrapers, take longer to develop than trains and can sometimes be more complicated than both!

Let’s start from the beginning…

One of the key challenges faced by Project Management is to keep stakeholders well informed on project progress and get buy-in on the decisions that have to be made during implementation. As we all know, projects very rarely go according to plan…and adjustments are constantly required. The Shard, HS2 and Cross Rail are all high profile projects, with high public visibility and as such, you could consider each member of the public as a stakeholder with a different vision, sensibility or objectives. Therefore it’s unlikely that general consensus will be met!

This is likely to get worse in the future with the wide use of social media, as a means of sharing information and opinions, fuelling discussions and influencing others.

Prior to implementation of these projects, consultation at the outset with the targeted users is also crucial to confirm that the initial intent will meet the needs of the majority of end customers or users.

The inhaler or injector pen is mightier than the Shard…

At Team, we work primarily with pharmaceutical companies, to assist them with the development of medical technology and products. These range from drug delivery devices to complex medical systems. In the case of drug delivery devices, they take many years to develop, trial and roll out and are fraught with regulatory hurdles. But when they get to market they can be worth billions of pounds for the pharmaceutical company and can then spawn generic alternatives once the drugs come ‘off patent’. So while an inhaler or injector pen might seem miniscule next to the Shard, the complexities, timescales and opportunities to fail and succeed are equal.

Looking to the horizon…

Looking globally at what is happening in the pharmaceutical and medical sector, I believe designing, executing and measuring projects in the future will require a better grasp of strategic skills, such as understanding the needs of the market, anticipating the needs of customers and having the market knowledge to help fulfil their needs. This is a trend I can see applying to a range of other industries especially in the Information Technology and high tech sectors where competition is tougher than ever.

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