When we talk about the importance of vision for project management in a medical device company, we are not just talking about the end results that the project team or the medical device company wants to accomplish. ‘Vision’ encompasses so much more.
As every project management consultant at the Waddell group will attest, Vision is what the project manager needs to have, to:
1) Identify the nature of the project they are undertaking and how it fits in with the company goals.
2) Ensure that the project parameters closely follow and contribute to both the goal of the project and the company’s big picture vision.
For without Vision, you lack clarity about where the medical device project stands and where it needs to go. A clear Vision helps set directions and goals and may help a project get back on track if it’s derailed.
The failure of many medical device projects can be traced back to unclear Vision.
If your medical device project is showing less than stellar success – in the market or in getting off the ground – you may want to double-check your Vision and ensure it’s what your project team is working towards. An unclear Vision can lead to confusion among the team members. Which leads them to move in different directions instead of moving in the same direction to fulfill the scope and intent of the project. It may lead to issues like:
- Under or overutilization of resources
- Project going over budget
- Important features missing in the medical device
- Project cannibalizing other company projects
- Delays in launching the project in the market
So what do we do to ensure that doesn’t happen? We start by:
Identifying the nature of the medical device project a company is undertaking and how it fits in with the company goals.
The leadership/top management needs to work hand in hand with the project manager or the project consultant to clarify the three Ws.
- Why is the company undertaking the project?
- What is the project going to do for the company?
- When does the project need to be completed? When will the company see the benefits of the project? These two whens need not be the same. A project that’s supposed to be out in the market in 3 months may show the results a year later.
The Vision for the project has to fit within the corporation’s priorities. Plus the direction they want their project portfolio to go. The project should also be profitable at the level the company requires. That entails that the project manager is aware of the product and project costs before starting the project.
Is the project being undertaken to respond to a market threat quickly? If that’s the case, the Vision needs to encompass the urgency. The features and the cost would come second to that. Or is the project initiated to add a new feature suite to an existing product to help the company reposition and increase the market share? Then the project becomes less urgent and more long-term with the Vision ensuring that the product has all the features decided. And that new features enhance the product value for its users and consumers.
The project could sit inside of any number of scenarios detailed above. It’s the project manager’s job to hold true to each scenario and ensure that their entire team is aware of it. And that the team members follow it with integrity.
But having a clear Vision is not enough. The project manager also needs to hold on to the vision for everybody until the project is completed. Which brings us to the next point.
Ensuring that the project parameters closely follow and contribute to both the goal of the project and the big picture vision of the medical device company.
There are five critical parameters for any project:
- Quality of the deliverables
- Feature set
All these parameters are flexible and can be modified to suit the Vision and the project needs. There is also a constant trade-off between these parameters that the project manager can use to ensure that the project stays true to the Vision.
In the course of a project life cycle, circumstances may arise that might derail the project or might throw the project off-track.
Say an engineer starts working on a feature set that they’d LOVE to incorporate a project. But that project is on a strict schedule, and the new addition would cause it to go over the schedule. It becomes the project manager’s job to identify if the new feature set would work with the company’s big-picture Vision. And if it does, to understand if they can bring the project back on track by altering any other parameter. Like budget. Can they offer overtime (without impacting profitability) to add the new feature within schedule?
Sometimes the Vision may alter over time. For example, a competitor may go out of business, and the project to add a new feature suite becomes less important. Or another one of the medical device company’s projects is put on hold. In that case, the project manager can accelerate the current project by using the other project’s resources.
In all these cases, it’s the project manager’s responsibility to ensure that the team members stay true to the big picture vision and follow the project parameters. And in cases of altered Vision, the parameters are also altered to suit the modified Vision.
Have a medical device project in crisis because of a lack of clear Vision?
Please feel free to reach out.
We have been in business providing World Class Project Managers to top Medical Device companies, and have developed a project management system that is focused on resolving crises while staying true to the company’s long-term goals.
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