Project management is a framework that uses a set of processes, tools, and techniques that provide guidance and structure from project initiation through close out and has been an emerging factor for project success. A project manager (PM) is one who utilizes the framework and has a unique skill set, experience and expertise to understand the project and to gain the trust of the research team. Their technical knowledge allows the orchestration of stakeholders across different functional areas to ensure the project stays within scope, budget, time, and quality through a milestone driven approach.
Incorporation of project management and a project manager into your project team will ensure moving emerging products and technologies to the next stage of maturity. Project managers create an advantage for the project team; they provide coaching and guidance during the application process, they can determine business and market strategies, provide technical direction and selection of technology applications, and identify which activities and studies are relevant for commercialization.
A key to successful projects is project manager involvement prior to funding through technology maturation to ensure milestone-driven project management is implemented during engagement, management and as the project prepares for its next logical steps. Once projects are underway, the project management team ensures that projects stay on schedule by using tracking and progress reporting tools and identifies and mitigates development risks. Finally, as the project nears completion, the project management team, including a Technology Transfer Office (TTO) representative, will together decide the best path forward for the technology (continued development, new company formation, licensing).
Qualifications to look for in successful PMs: