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The Key To Delivering A CTMS Project On Time and On Budget

Ask any IT project manager what one of their greatest challenges is when it comes to putting together a project plan, and they will likely tell you: estimates. According to a study published by Harvard Business Review, one in six projects presents a cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of 70%, with the average cost overrun being 25% for the 1,471 IT projects studied.

While estimating CTMS project costs and timelines is not an exact science due to unplanned project requirement changes, estimation is still a necessity in order to finalize plans, keep projects on track and ensure the client’s budget is respected. So how do you increase odds at success, when numerous studies show that over 50% of IT projects fail to deliver? There are of course many success factors to consider, but producing solid estimates are very high up on the list. Clinical-Trial-Management-System-Project-Management

Some say that estimating is an art, and while it is true that gut feeling based on past experiences can be considered quite an asset, one needs to bear in mind that no two CTMS projects are exactly alike, not only in terms of tasks and context, but also the resources that make up the combined client and partner team. So in most cases, it takes more than a gut feeling.

Common mistakes that lead to the inaccurate estimation of CTMS projects include:

  • Lack of time to put together solid, founded estimates
  • Little contingency to account for events such as illness, vacation, and other unexpected events
  • Time for project management, coordination, status meetings, etc. not accounted for
  • Insufficient level of detail of requirements and/or tasks
  • Assumption that client resources are fully available

The consequences of poor estimates are harsh. If your project is late, you will need to spend time re-estimating, re-prioritizing, figuring out workarounds, and scheduling more meetings – time that could have been used on delivering the actual project. It’s a vicious cycle with precious productive time being taken away, sinking the project into more trouble. And for clients, every dollar counts. In addition, as pressure on resources increases, quality suffers and the damages will creep up sooner or later and will hurt the client’s goals. For these reasons, it is essential to take all contingencies in your plan into account and not make any of the common mistakes presented above.

And, if a client tells you up-front that they have a certain budget, don’t decrease estimates to squeeze everything in. Instead, commit to implementing as many requirements as possible within that budget, or see if there are ways to decrease the scope without affecting the quality.

Even though, on occasion, there are CTMS projects where other implementation/integration partners are chosen by the client because of unrealistic proposed timelines, it is important to remember that success at the end of the project is what sets the foundation for solid, long lasting relationships. It may seem easiest to deal with delays after projects are signed, but this is certainly not a win-win situation for any party involved. So, develop realistic estimates from the very start and you will be on the right track to success.

At Perficient, we pride ourselves for establishing a good sense of trust with our clients based on proven successes, and adhere to our core values of Honesty and Integrity. For more information about our solutions related to clinical trial management systems, please contact us.

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Caroline Abkar

Caroline is an accomplished IT consulting professional with over a decade of experience implementing IT solutions for various industries, including life sciences, financial services, and telecommunications. As a lead business consultant in Perficient's dedicated life sciences practice, she helps design and deliver cost-effective clinical trial management solutions for her clients. Caroline is a hands-on project manager who keeps her team on track and clients' success at heart.

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