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Ask a project managerProject management

Ask a Project Manager – Help! I’m a clinician, I’ve been asked to run a project and don’t know where to start!

Psoda blog author avatar
Rhona
3 December 2021

Welcome to our latest Ask a Project Manager blog. This time I’ve been asked how to help a clinician run a project they’ve been given when they have no project management experience.

Hello, I’m looking for some advice please. I’m a clinician in a hospital and I’ve been handed a project to run. I’ve got no project management experience, what should I do and where can I start?

My first bit of advice is don’t panic. Whether you’re a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, pharmacist or other specialist you already have a lot of the skills needed to be a good project manager:

Team player

Healthcare workers constantly work in multi-disciplinary teams and the skills that are applied there are easily transferrable to project management teams

Deadlines

Clinicians are constantly having to meet inflexible deadlines and that ability is very useful as a project manager

Subject matter expertise

When managing a project, having first-hand experience is a real bonus and brings significant advantages. In the healthcare setting no-one has more relevant experience than someone with a clinical background

Stakeholder management

Managing your stakeholders is something that clinicians do on a daily basis; this part of project management should be second nature.

In terms of running your project there are 5 key things you need to do to help you deliver successfully.

Make a plan

This can be as simple as a one page document. As long as it covers what you’ll deliver, how much it will cost, when it will be delivered and how you’ll measure success you’re good.

Sort out your budget

  • Break your budget down into CAPEX & OPEX
  • Make sure you update your forecast & actual budgets regularly

Look at the risks

Document any actual and perceived risks to the project up front and proactively manage them when they eventuate

Work out a schedule

A schedule is just a way of visualising tasks and showing you what has to happen when. It can be as easy as creating an excel spreadsheet with the task name, who will do it and how long it will take.

Report

Keep it simple. Show how you are tracking with your budget and tasks against the deadline.

I hope this has given you some ideas on where to start!

Rhona Aylward avatar
Written by Rhona Aylward
Rhona is Deputy Everything Officer at Psoda, where she does everything except code. After starting life as a microbiologist she moved into PMO leadership roles around the world before settling in New Zealand with her family.

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