Six stepping stones to pharma launch project management success

Being efficient with launch project management has never been more important. If you take the right steps from the start, it can transform your whole launch.

Jane Francis, Launch Implementation Partner at IE, shares her recommendations for the 6 simple steps you can take to optimise yours:

Step 1: Create a structured project management approach to your launch e.g ensure you give attention to all 4 stages of the project lifecycle… Initiation, Planning, Tracking and Closing.

Step 2: Clearly define (and mutually agree on) project team roles and responsibilities

Step 3: Ensure ‘early buy-in’ – engage all stakeholders in the launch project kick-off meeting

Step 4: Track launch timelines – and agree how to correct them when they go ‘off-track’

Step 5: Define your launch readiness criteria in the form of pre-launch KPIs and assess your progress against these on your ‘journey to launch’. Flag or escalate if you are not on track to meet one or more of them

Step 6: Keep a close eye on potential risks and issues related to your launch

But how does this work in practice?

Ensure your launch excellence (LEx) project manager takes the lead on implementing your launch processes.

A good LEx project manager will monitor team morale and will also act as another set of eyes and ears for the medicine’s lead.

He or she should have a thorough understanding of the 4 stages of the project management lifecycle which are critical success factors for launch:

  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Tracking
  • Closing

It can be tempting to skip the Initiation part, but this is actually the most important stage. If you get this right, it sets the scene for the rest of your launch.

During the Initiation stage, you should create a clear and comprehensive Project Charter which outlines: Team roles and responsibilities, agreed ways of working, a communication strategy and an agreed governance procedure. This eliminates any ambiguity and provides focus and clarity for the whole launch team.

How early on should you implement this process?

Have you already appointed your Commercialisation Lead to the medicine? If so, this is the perfect time to establish your project team. Top tip: Ensure your R&D lead provides a thorough handover as part of this process.

How can you manage this remotely with Covid restrictions in place?

Technology is key. Reliable video conferencing technology for your launch project meetings that includes remote break-out rooms will stimulate smaller team discussions outside of the main meeting room. And launch planning technology is crucial for monitoring your launch plans, KPIs, and timelines to encourage visibility and to ensure your teams feel connected and aligned.

How can IE help you?

IE is a launch excellence organisation with over 15 years’ experience working in partnership with pharmaceutical companies of all sizes at Global, Regional and Affiliate levels. We provide launch excellence counsel, capability development, project management and ‘best in class’ launch planning and collaboration technology (Ignite). Our core focus is on enhancing the -2 years to +2 years launch period, ensuring launches are implemented across functions and countries in a connected and seamless way. Our team draws on decades of experience from both pharma and agency of launching hundreds of medicines.

Contact us today to find out more: launch@innovative-edge.com

18 Aug 2020 3:30 pm
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