project management in life sciences

Project management is incorporated into everything we do at Kymanox. Whether it be for biotechnology or medical devices, our late-stage development programs are geared towards making projects easier for our partners. Given the complexity of life science projects, it’s imperative to take a disciplined approach that includes keeping detailed and timely documentation and maintaining clear communication. To help ensure project success, our project managers are cognizant of the following pitfalls:


#1 – Not Clearly Defining Roles & Responsibilities

People are the foundation of a project, so it is essential to define the roles and responsibilities of each resource with a project roster – keeping in mind that these roles may change across the course of a project. Kymanox recommends revisiting the roster regularly to redefine roles and responsibilities and to inform all team members if and when changes occur.


#2 – Mismanaging Expectations

With the many working parts to a life sciences project, communicating expectations clearly and consistently will limit what might go wrong. Once roles and responsibilities are defined, Kymanox recommends ensuring that you have the right people to do the job and that you set expectations up front.


#3 – Not Defining Stakeholders

Stakeholders help set and oversee the goals and objectives for the project. Missing one or more of these influential resources can completely derail your projects’ success. Kymanox recommends that project manager know who the stakeholders are – there may be several – and communicate with them regularly. At Kymanox, we not only engage with your stakeholders, we engage with our internal stakeholders to ensure your project is a success.


#4 – Forgetting to Obtain Project Alignment

A project will fail without effective alignment. Start the project off right by having a formal kick-off meeting with all team members and stakeholders. This meeting will ensure alignment on expectations and allow for the development of the project charter that is agreed upon by all team members and approved by the primary stakeholders. Kymanox recommends that the project charter be a succinct document that captures the high-level objectives, schedule, risks, and communication plan for the project.


#5 – Inefficient/Late Communications

Remember, people have different communication styles – what works for one resource does not always work for the entire team. Failing to communicate with team members when misunderstandings arise or delaying difficult discussions will exacerbate problems and hinder project success. Kymanox recommends tailoring your communication strategy to get the best results on a resource-by-resource basis.


#6 – Forgetting to Check-in Regularly

Check-in with team members often! One-on-one discussions with team members and stakeholders will make a world of difference to the success of your project. Not only will a personal relationship be established, but you will have a greater understanding of all that is going on within the project rather than only what you observe.


#7 – Failing to Evaluate/Communicate Risks Up Front

All too often, project managers will not create a Risk, Action, and Decision Register (RAID log), or if one is created, it is not shared with the team. SHARE this information – make sure the team is aware of areas of potential concern and the plans to mitigate risks.


#8 – Not Getting a Project Back on Track Quickly

Problems (or as we like to call them, opportunities) arise. You can either prepare and plan to get the project back on track promptly, or you can watch the project go up in “flames.” Do not wait until after these issues have happened to develop solutions (see #7 risk planning above). Kymanox recommends having options built into your strategy or risk mitigation plans so roadblocks are solved quickly and effectively.


#9 – Not Choosing the Right Project Management Software

Do some research before you start a project to make sure you choose the software and tools that work best for you and your organization. It will assist you in planning and tracking all the steps of your project, including scheduling, task management, allocating resources, communicating with the team, and more. Good project management tools integrate all project data to ensure project managers have everything they need to keep a project on track. Kymanox recommends tools that also utilize project dashboards to communicate real-time status on scope, schedule, budget, and risks.

#10 – Forgetting the Project Recap

Your best resource for improving future projects is knowledge and experience. Kymanox recommends scheduling a formal lessons-learned, cross-functional discussion with the team once the project is complete to capture thoughts on what worked well and what didn’t. This way, future projects can be adjusted to avoid mistakes and improve project efficiencies. As this lessons-learned information builds, your projects will improve exponentially.



All-in-all, we believe that project can be run effectively with timely communication, defined expectations, proper tools, and defined team responsibilities. With the right project management, you can ensure your life science project will be done Right First Time!