New to an Organization: Tools to Assess Projects and Teams

Conference: Project Management Institute (PMI) Pharmaceutical Community of Practice (CoP)
Division: Cognigen


The complexity of project management and its value increase exponentially as the number and complexity of projects and interdisciplinary team participation increases. Managers must continually monitor the number and breadth of projects and the inner workings of teams in order to maintain the sophisticated view of the project environment required for effective project and program management. We have developed and implemented two techniques for rapidly gathering the requisite information.

Project impact and risk scales are used to assess complexity of the project from the team members’ perspective, identify stakeholder and management expectations, and identify risk factors for project success, such as degree of cross-functional collaboration, urgency of results, and team expertise. Comparison of scores within and across projects provides the project manager with high-level, critical information on how to prioritize projects, assign resources, and ensure successful project completion. The risk scales can be adapted based on industry and portfolio of projects under review. An example specific to data analysis in the pharmaceutical industry is provided.

Network analysis is a tool that can be used to develop an understanding of organization structure and culture, communication and team behaviors, and other motivational factors that have an impact on team morale and project success. Network analysis graphically displays the interconnections and communication pathways across a team and organization. In our example, two questions were asked of every person within a company: Who do you go to for scientific or technical help? and Who do you regularly go to for advice?

These tools provide a high-level, quick assessment of projects and teams to support project management decision-making. Further research will evaluate the relationship between the network analysis results and project risk scores and their impact on project success.

Project Management Institute (PMI) Pharmaceutical Community of Practice (CoP), Durham, North Carolina, March 2011

By Cynthia A. Walawander, Thaddeus H. Grasela, Zelasko, T., Willetts, T., Gomathinayagam, V., Tsai, C.F., Macri, J.