Team Dynamics Pharmaceutical Project Teams

The development team has members with complementary technical skills. The management of the complex process of pharmaceutical development requires that these highly skilled knowledge workers engage, relate, and commit to a shared goal with defined milestones. These team interactions have to occur in a dynamic environment where (1) studies and experiments continually generate results that may fundamentally change the course of development, (2) management support and priority may be low compared to other projects, (3) team members may be geographically dispersed, and (4) resources for conduct of studies and other activities often are not controlled directly by the team. At its best, the pharmaceutical development team provides an environment that is mutually supportive, respectful, and enables discussion on controversial issues. It is open to new ideas, agile and constructive in addressing new issues, and has goals and strategy supported and understood by management. The project leader and the project manager should strive to generate an environment that is as conducive as possible to provide this ideal. These are not features specific to biomarker development, but as mentioned below, including novel biomarkers will add to the complexity of the development project and require additional attention and management due to the increased number of communication channels. Following are some of the general principles of a productive team environment:

1. Include and plan for a project kickoff meeting and face-to-face meetings.

2. Define the roles and responsibilities of each team member.

3. Operate in a spirit of collaboration with a shared vision.

4. Practice active listening.

5. Practice transparent decision making; determine how decisions will be made and the role of each team member in the process.

6. Encourage all team members to engage in debate about strategic issues.

7. Spend time and energy to define objectives.

8. Engage and communicate actively with management.

9. Decide but revisit which communication tools are optimal.

10. Recognize and respect differences.

11. Plan for adversity.

12. Plan for the expected as well as the unexpected.

There are a number of excellent books that discuss team dynamics and team management [5-7]. Pharmaceutical scientific organizations are beginning to offer continuing education courses in program management, and dedicated pharmaceutical training courses are available [8]. However, effective drug development project leaders and managers do not come out of university programs or training centers. The understanding of how all the complex pieces of drug development come together can best be learned through hands- on experience as a team member, team leader, or project manager. Typically, it takes many years of working within the industry to gain sufficient knowledge of the drug development process to be an effective project team leader or manager.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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