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Leveraging Project Data Effectively

Enhancing Project Success By Using Project Management “Data” and Influencing Others

Introduction

In the dynamic field of project management, the effective utilization and sharing of data are critical for project success. This informative blog post, part of our Project Management series, illustrates these principles through a case study involving David, a chemist at Lilly who transitioned into project management. His journey highlights the significance of not only using project management tools but also understanding how to communicate and apply the data they provide.

This video is an exert taken from a client training seminar.

Chemist Turned Project Manager

David, a skilled chemist at Lilly, embarked on a journey into project management as a means to broaden his understanding of the multifaceted drug development process. This transition aimed to enhance his knowledge in diverse areas such as biology, ADME, toxicology, and even finance and regulatory aspects, ultimately enriching his expertise in chemistry and drug discovery.

The Revelation: Beyond Data Collection to Application

Initially, David, a quick learner, efficiently organized his project timeline, scope document, and risk plan, storing them in SharePoint. However, his mentor noticed a gap in David’s approach – he had mastered data collection but not its application. The key lesson here was that project management data serves a greater purpose beyond mere documentation.

Effective Data Utilization: A Path to Organizational Wisdom

The narrative unfolds to reveal the importance of transforming data into actionable intelligence. It’s not enough to gather and store project data; the real value lies in how it’s used to drive decision-making and behavior. This approach helps in identifying organizational strengths, areas for improvement, and developing best practices.

Integrating Tools with Communication

Through continued mentorship, David learned the art of applying data from project management tools effectively. The focus shifted from just maintaining records in SharePoint, to using this data to influence others and ensure project success, including completing projects on time, within scope, and budget.

Tips for Effective Data Management and Communication in Project Management

  1. Understand the Big Picture: Recognize how your role and data intersect with broader organizational goals.
  2. Leverage Technology Wisely: Use tools like SharePoint not just for storage but as platforms for collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  3. Focus on Application: Always ask how the data can be used to improve project outcomes.
  4. Communicate Effectively: Share insights from your data with your team and stakeholders to align efforts and drive better decision-making.
  5. Learn and Adapt: Use data to identify best practices and areas for broader improvement within your organization.

Conclusion

David’s story underscores the vital role of effectively managing and communicating project management data. By moving beyond mere data collection to its strategic application and communication, project managers can significantly enhance the success of their projects. Embracing these principles not only aids in achieving immediate project goals but also contributes to the long-term wisdom and efficiency of the organization.


Video Transcript


David was at Lilly, he came over to project management and it was a growth opportunity for him. He had a chemistry background- brilliant chemist. What they wanted was for him to come and understand the integrated aspects of drug development, and to do so through a project management role, then go back and be a better chemist. Because now we understand it's not just chemistry, but biology, but ADME, toxicology, maybe clinical, maybe the finance and regulatory pieces better. And how does the chemistry aspect relate to that?

So, I was mentoring David. He was in the role; I forget if it's two weeks or two months, and he came to my office and he kind of stopped at the threshold and didn't walk in. He's like, “Hey Jay, I don't know if we need to meet.” I said, “Okay, it's your time. We can meet, we can not meet, it's up to you. But I'm curious… Why?”

He's like, “I got it. I think it's all figured out” [I said] “That's quick. That's great.” This guy's brilliant. I knew that but, “So tell me more, what do you have figured out?”

“Well, I have my timeline, my scope document, my risk plan, and they're in SharePoint.”

“Okay, great.”

“It's like, yeah, I got it.”

“Alright,” and he started to turn and walk away, and I said, “David, what are you doing with that?”

“What?”

“What are you doing with it?”

“I just told you, it's in SharePoint. Anyone can look at it. Go take a look.”

“What are you doing with it?”

We are a scientific organization, very much like Regenstrief. Right, project management tools provide data. How do you use that data, convert it to information to drive behaviors? How do you use that data collected over time to create wisdom and knowledge around what the organization does well? What it doesn't do well, where do they trip and fall most frequently? What are our best practices? What works best here within the four walls of Regenstrief, or more specifically within DataCore, or within RDS, or within, right, whatever area you come in, and actually get to kind of that wisdom piece?

And so, make no mistake, David and I spent time that afternoon, as well as many, many more afternoons, about how do you take those project management tools and put them in SharePoint as cute, but how do you actually use them as data, as information, to drive and influence others to assure your project gets done on time, to assure it gets done within scope, within budget, as needed. assure it gets done within scope, within budget, as needed.

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Pintail Solutions is a niche management advisory firm focused on enabling overall project and portfolio delivery, developing and deploying new business strategies, and delivering construction projects across life science organizations.

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