Avoiding the Biggest Pitfalls When Managing Complex Pharma Projects



By Shannon Keenan

Pennsylvania, USA

When we think of being successful in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, we immediately think of the need for strong scientific or technical capabilities. And that’s certainly a big piece of the puzzle. But to bring an idea to reality in these sectors also requires exceedingly strong project coordination and execution skills.

Each step of the way—from early discovery to product launch—mission-critical projects typically involve cross-functional teams spanning business and therapy areas. I’ve seen this firsthand over the past 25 years, leading countless pharma and biotech programs and projects. Project management may seem fairly straightforward, and most people think they know how to do it. But in reality, it’s an intricate dance that requires a focus on much more than simply executing deliverables on time and on budget. The high degree of regulation and complex global matrices in these industries only increases the complexity of managing these projects.

Let me give an example. We were brought in to help a pharma client prepare for a significant regulatory meeting encompassing various therapy areas. This meeting was pivotal, as it involved discussions with governmental agencies regarding the approval of several medications. Also critical was how that information coming back from the regulators was conveyed to the various stakeholders in the company.

There were multiple therapy areas represented at the meeting that collectively had more than 100 stakeholders. The challenge lay in ensuring that each representative accurately conveyed the details of the meeting to their respective therapy areas without succumbing to the pressure of delivering information hastily and incompletely. With multiple stakeholders involved, we also ran the risk of inconsistencies in reporting and communication.

It was clear that we needed a highly structured approach to managing this project. While each stakeholder had their own priorities and perspectives, it was crucial to align everyone towards a unified goal in how the information was disseminated.


To read entire article, click here

How to cite this article: Keenan, S. (2024).  Avoiding the Biggest Pitfalls When Managing Complex Pharma Projects, PM World Journal, Vol. XIII, Issue VII, July.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/pmwj143-Jul2024-Keenan-avoiding-biggest-pitfalls-managing-complex-pharma-projects.pdf

About the Author

Shannon Keenan

Pennsylvania, USA


Shannon Keenan is a Partner with Artemis Factor, a healthcare project delivery firm. She has deep experience developing, implementing, and leading R&D, Tech, and Commercial teams through enterprise-wide strategies focused on driving improvements to deliver business results. She currently resides in West Chester, Pa., with her husband, three children and puppy. She can be contacted at shannon.keenan@artemisfactor.com.