Optimized PPM Process Helps Medical Device Company Deliver Strategic Projects

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The R&D team of a global medical device company was experiencing project slippage, diluted resources, prioritization problems, and too many projects within its current portfolio. Although the company had a mature project management group that was compiling data and tracking the projects, the team lacked portfolio governance and a way to identify which projects were strategically aligned with the company’s strategic goals.

With a next-generation surgical device set to be launched at an upcoming global conference, and several projects related to the launch already behind schedule, the team faced a potential crisis. With time running out, the company turned to Integrated Project Management Company, Inc. (IPM) to assess the situation and develop a project portfolio management (PPM) system to help establish a prioritization process for resourcing and communication tools to ensure cross functional alignment.

COLLABORATING ON SOLUTIONS

After the assessment, during which the IPM portfolio team interviewed and collaborated with stakeholders to pinpoint problem areas and help find solutions, the consultants developed and introduced new project and portfolio processes, tools, and templates to the team. 

The planned solution included the development of a portfolio governance committee—comprised of senior management from operations, quality, R&D, and commercialization—to assess project ideas and determine the best use of available resources and funding. The committee was overseen by an internal portfolio manager, trained by the IPM consultants.

A major component of the project was change management and communicating to the broader organization. IPM provided PM training courses to the internal teams and trained the teams on the new portfolio governance process, which initially raised concerns that the new processes would slow them down in the fast-moving medical device industry. Through the trainings and coaching sessions, IPM demonstrated the long-term benefits of following processes and how it would improve overall project performance.

PROOF IS IN THE NUMBERS

The assessment kicked off in January, and the company-wide training and implementation was completed by the end of June. In February, the company was experiencing 7.4 projects slipping each month, with an average project delay of 71 days. By the end of May, after the company had already begun implementing the recommended PPM tools, project slippage had dropped to two per month, with an average delay of 50 days.

The new portfolio governance process helped the company meet its deadlines for the launch of the medical device at its global conference. It also helped the company make strategic decisions based on a process to cull out low-priority projects and execute critical projects with predictability, visibility, and accountability.