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Can life science Project Managers change their game?

It's been said that project managers should have a role in company scenario planning and strategic decision making. If you are a PM, is this part of your role, or is it done above your pay grade?

This is the topic of the next PIPMG event, in November. See more detail below.

But in the meantime, have a think about your role, against these four dimensions:

Do you have the opportunity?

You role may well be tightly defined. I've been in some small companies where the leadership team write most all of a project definition and project managers essentially refine and execute plans - that's it. In larger companies, a PM may be working for a formally appointed project leader, who sits on a senior portfolio team that considers strategy. But in this day and age, things may well be much more fluid than that, and there are opportunities if you are skilled and have the mindset to meet them …

Do you have the right mindset?

People often migrate into project management because: they have a successful track record, usually in a scientific or technical function; they like to coordinate the efforts of a group of people and build a collaborative atmosphere; they are well organised. But these skills along may not serve so well in a strategic, scenario-plan environment, where a drive to hit goals, a relaxed approach to uncertainty and looking at big ideas may dominate.

Do you have the time?

Perhaps a more realistic question might be 'can you make the time?' You might be able to participate in more strategic activities, but odds-on you'll still have accountability for project plans, meetings, day to day business and everything else that goes with the role. Sometimes there's no opportunity to delegate. More often than not though, the PM doesn't use all the delegating opportunities that are around!

Do you have the networks?

Proper strategic work and high quality decisions rely on getting the right data and expert opinions when they are needed. You need to be connected to the professionals, partner companies and external experts who can supply you with info. You need the trust to be able to press on them when they're busy.

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