Strategy and Project Management - Research

Strategy and Project Management in the
Academic Setting
What best practices from industry
can be applied within the
What best
practices setting?
from industry can
be applied within the academic
Coulter Program at USC:
Portfolio of 15 projects currently
Industry and Academia Have Differing Goals
and Metrics of Success
• Industry focuses on translation and products scientists pursue tangible entities (validated targets,
novel molecules, biomarker assays, medical devices)
 Measure of success : $$$
• Academia focus basic research knowledge creation
though basic research and dissemination of
 Measure of success : Tenure
Principles of effectiveness in managing project progression apply
equally in both settings – project advancement is fundamental to both
Project Progression is a Team Sport in
• Many disciplines and functions are need to move
projects forward (eg. Chemists, biologists,
toxicologist, pharmacologists, engineers,
manufacturers, lawyers, marketers)
• Highly effective use of multiple resources serves the
purpose of translation
• In contrast there are incentives (getting tenure) for
academics to lean towards individual research in
order to substantiate significant impact
A Multidisciplinary Approach Can Be Dilutive
to Your Perceived Impact
Consider how to bring additional expertise to your project (collaborators,
consultants, contractors) especially If you are translationally-oriented
Principles of Project Management
Phases of Project
Cornerstones of Effective
Project Management
Managing Risk
Initiation & Planning of Projects
• Assemble team
o think about external experts!
o student timelines with less flexibility
• Identify goals, establish milestones/aims
• Create a project plan (simple or detailed)
Specific project activities & tasks
Timing of activities
Inter-dependencies among work streams
Important milestones
Project Plan and Timeline to Execute and Monitor
Project Progress:
Microsoft Gantt Chart is an Industry Standard
Simplified Project Plan and Timeline Modeled After
Gantt Chart (NIH)
High Level Project Plan and Timeline to Track
Progress Against Project Activities
• Regularly scheduled team meetings
• Create agendas for team meetings and follow
• Team meeting minutes with ACTION ITEMS
assigned to team members
• Review ACTION ITEMS at next team meeting
to ensure they have been completed
• Careful tracking of documentation/data
Managing Risks
• Identify risks and have
some form of
mitigation for these
• Supplement your team
with complementary
skill sets
• Formulate endpoints
and pivot if necessary
Build optionality into your project plans and make adjustments to
your research direction as you build your information base
Some Important Issues for Academic Laboratories
You Need to Think About
• Research data retention
• Research data organization and storage
• Industry utilizes electronic laboratory notebooks and has
extensive infrastructure to support capturing work product, data
and inventions
Problem: data walking out the door
Solution: centralized data management
Data Management Tools
Central Desktop:
• Electronic Filing System for Documents &
• Functionality for Tracking Project Plans &
• Reporting and Monitoring
• A Collaboration Tool
Integrated Project Management Systems for Project
Tracking and Information Reporting
Best Practices from Industry that Can Be Leveraged
by Academia in Managing Your Projects
• Defined milestones
• Defined project needs / resources
• Mapping of timelines
• Team building with complementary team skills
• Data management and storage
Principles of effectiveness in managing project progression should apply
equally in both settings – project advancement is fundamental to both
Contact Information
Christine Matheson
Director, USC - Coulter Translational
University of Southern California
email: [email protected]
mobile: 805-368-6662

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