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Learning Objectives

After completing this chapter, the reader will be able to:

  • Differentiate between a project, program, and portfolio.

  • Assess the viability and value of projects.

  • Describe the key components of a project charter, including scope, goals, success criteria, and stakeholders.

  • Discuss tools used for planning projects, including a work breakdown structure, requirements matrix, risk management plan, communication management plan, and change management plan.

  • Explain factors important for the successful execution of a project.

  • List key activities to complete when closing a project.


Key Concepts

  • image Understanding programs and portfolios is critical to successful project management.

  • image Knowing the success criteria provides a measurable way to define when the project is finished and the goal has been achieved.

  • image Knowing the stakeholders involved is a key step because many times the success of the project depends on their buy-in and input.

  • image It is extremely important to define the scope in order to put boundaries on the project and define its endpoint.

  • image After identifying tasks and the resources needed to accomplish those tasks, a project timeline can be developed.


Health care today is perhaps more complex than it has ever been in history. Instead of the autonomous, physician-centric model of medicine practiced for decades, more organizations are recognizing the value of an interdisciplinary, patient-centric, and population-health approach. Furthermore, integrated health care delivery systems, as opposed to independently owned and disparate entities, are becoming the norm. Standardization and quality improvement processes are now core to many organizations wanting to reduce costs, improve safety, and increase their overall ability to care for patients. Government agencies are further propelling this transformation through changes in payment models and new regulations, adding another layer of complexity.

As a result, health care professionals are increasingly inundated with projects and responsibilities, often without being given more time or resources. Furthermore, most health care workers have historically not applied project management frameworks to these complex tasks. It is little surprise, therefore, that many projects in health care fail to succeed. Imagine, for instance, that a surgeon is about to perform a complex cardiac operation. However, instead of reading through the patient’s chart, talking with the surgical team, prescheduling time in the operating room, and working through the step-by-step techniques needed to perform the operation, the physician decides to just begin the surgery without a plan. It should be clear that this patient’s outcome would likely not be good, or at least that the surgery itself would not go smoothly. The same principle is also true with projects. Although a well thought out plan and systematic approach cannot guarantee success, it can certainly help increase the likelihood of success, improve productivity, reduce unnecessary stress and waste, and increase quality.

The practice of pharmacy is no exception. Drug information specialists and other pharmacy specialties develop, manage, and execute projects ...

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