Project Data for Portfolio Management in Bio/pharmaceutical R&D

Without Project Data portfolio management is limited. Much of the project data comes from the projects directly – from the project leaders who manage the projects and from line managers whose groups work on the projects. Project data from the project leaders is discussed in the section Project Tracking for Project Management in Bio/pharmaceutical R&D in our website Project Leader Solutions.

In this section we discuss the data that is of value to portfolio management.

Data Collected by Project Leaders (in Project Leader Solutions)

The following types of data should be collected by Project Leaders

  • Progress – towards achieving criteria for advancement to next milestone,
  • Work – who, when started, when stopped,
  • Cost – for discovery, this may be synonymous with work (FTEs),
  • Time – when the project started, when it stopped, when it restarted, when it reached the next milestone, and
  • Risk Management – what are the risks, who is responsible for resolution of each risk, the date when a risk is resolved.

This information should be collected by project leaders but made available to portfolio managers. To simplify data collection this information should be gathered and stored by project leaders in a manner that is standard to all projects in the organization and made available to portfolio managers.

Data Collected by Line Department Managers.

Don’t Duplicate! Some of the data listed above comes from line departments. But line departments need to keep track of their own performance. Some line department performance data is quite useful to Portfolio Managers. Line department managers will balk at having to enter data into multiple data entry systems. Data that is useful to line department managers, project leaders and portfolio managers need to be gathered by a single data entry system and then distributed to corporate managers who need that data. Creation of such a system is time consuming but will be appreciated by all who generate the data and those who use it.

A multitude of line departments contribute to a project as it progresses from early discovery through preclinical development one through clinical development. It is not important for us to enumerate which data goes with which stage. But it is important that project and portfolio data gathered for a project is maintained even after the project finishes successfully or unsuccessfully. Projects have a way of stopping and restarting due to changes in corporate strategy or funding. It would be tragic for work having to be repeated upon project restart.

Variations in Line Data. Line managers will collect data that is useful to the line department and understandable within the context of that particular line department. Other line departments may not need to collect such data and will balk at needing to provide data that is not useful to their departments. The data from a line department that continuously works on a single project throughout a stage of R&D (e.g. a biology department) tends to be more comprehensible on a portfolio level than data from a line department that only works for a short period or sporadically on a project in any particular stage (e.g. an analytical chemistry department).

Understand the Symphonic Score. It is critical that portfolio managers know which line departments contribute to a project and when their work starts and completes. Like members of an orchestra, not all departments are constantly performing, yet the departments who are first to perform and the departments who are last to perform provide critical demarcation of the beginning and ending of the “symphony”. That symphonic score is the project plan.

Data Collected by Portfolio Managers.

Besides information collected by line managers and project managers, there are certain types of data that are valuable solely to portfolio managers.

  • Project Identifiers
  • Resource Tracking
  • Project Success/Failure
  • Cycle times
  • Asset Tracking, e.g. Lead Discovery Campaign Tracking
  • Project Portfolio History

In subsequent sections each of these types of information is discussed along with what portfolio managers typically do with the information.