While I often write about the issue that we aren’t sophisticated-enough in the way we handle our projects, I do also always admit that our industry has improved over the years. We’ve gotten better at the way we handle our projects, even if it’s not good-enough to prevent many of the project failures we have.
Last night, I attended a meeting of the local chapter of IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysts). They spoke of some of the issues we face in our laboratory informatics industry. The fact is that our industry came too late to understand when and how to make use of project management. Lagging behind the issue of project management is that of business analysis. Our industry does appear to be finally coming to the realization that we can’t merely send out a bunch of programmers who are SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and deep knowledge of the software and expect good solutions.
I dislike talking about “solutions” because it seems to be the latest buzzword. However, creating these systems takes the ability of people who can properly elicit requirements and drive-out a list of true needs. Get a bunch of technical people in the room and they suggest solving the problem with the latest tool. Get a good business analyst in the room and they’ll find out what the actual problem is. After that, a good tool can be considered, and one that solves the real problem. Too often, we allow ourselves to be tool-driven when we should be solving the problems at-hand.
Keep in-mind that Business Analysts delve into the needs of your business, the business of the laboratory. They’re called business analysts not because they’re bringing accounting rules to you or anything like that, but because they’re helping you to define your laboratory business. I still run into companies that misunderstand the term.
The Battle Cry
Let’s not stop our efforts to continue to use project management where it’s needed. I would venture to say it’s needed in more places than we usually admit, because I continue to hear of large projects that are undermanaged. We have such a huge fear or overmanaged projects that we continue to totally undermanage them. Along with all of this, we must continue to embrace the business managers.