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Building a better team with a lessons learned process

Monday, June 1, 2015

First of three parts

When we think about why projects fail to meet management expectations, a number of reasons come to mind:

  • The timelines were too aggressive.
  • We did not have time to plan the project or to define and manage the risks.
  • We were resource constrained.
  • The CRO did not perform.

But another possibility, perhaps, could be the team itself. Perhaps we were not a high-functioning team, or perhaps we did not take care of the team, so that when faced with challenges it became more about “me” than “us” and, therefore, the team struggled to overcome the hurdles and meet management expectations.

How can we be better at what we do? How can we become a better team? This can be achieved by a process of lessons learned. How we apply and document the lessons we learn from our experiences in which others participate greatly influences how we are valued by our colleagues, friends and family, and how we shape our professional growth.

In business, it is the sharing of our experiences on projects with team members that enable us to expand our individual lessons learned to the benefit of both ourselves and the project team of which we are members. The successful implementation of well-designed lessons learned processes that incorporate open and honest feedback from individual project team members increases the “richness” of information and leads to fewer mistakes, faster cycle times and better chances for greater team success.

To effectively perform lessons learned, one needs a process for collecting team information and using those data with the team to develop actionable lessons learned.

Next: Outlining the lessons learned process.


Written by Guest Writer Larry A. Blankstein, Ph.D. Blankstein is a clinical research scientist with more than 20 years in pharmaceutical and biotechnology drug development and operational execution. He has worked for both CROs and sponsors, enabling him to bring a collaborative approach to partnerships. His experience includes phase I-III studies; project, study budget and CRO management; clinical operations; and CRO selection. He is leading CenterWatch’s newest service, Team Performance Optimization Process (T-POP), offering insights into clinical project teams’ performance with a lessons learned evaluation to develop an action plan for excellence.

This article was reprinted from Volume 22, Issue 06, of The CenterWatch Monthly, an industry leading publication providing hard-hitting, authoritative business and financial coverage of the clinical research space. The Action Items section features short columns  focusing on actionable or how-to advice from clinical trial professionals. To submit an Action Item, please contact editorial@centerwatch.comSubscribe >>

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