Uncategorized BLOG

The Art of the Science of Project Management

Some years ago, at an interview for an interim contract, I was asked to do a 10 minute presentation on the subject “Project Management – art or science”.  Once I had got over the ‘death by PowerPoint’ dilemma, I set about the subject matter.

A number of project managers arrive from a technical background and training – they know that one day their PRINCE2® will come, they are Agile and relish a Scrum (sorry, couldn’t resist), they will spend days creating elaborate gantt charts and spreadsheets and highlight reports and…….but just don’t ask them to actually engage with human beings.  In common with other industries, healthcare management projects are becoming larger and more complex and the art of engagement is becoming more of a necessity.

Today’s project manager needs to be both technician and diplomat.  Faced with the response that this is “just another project” they need to be adept an inspiring and motivating their colleagues in the PMO as well as their stakeholder groups.  So in the “art or science” arena – I would cite the art of inspiration first and foremost.  That means the PM must have integrity – they need to believe in the project and its goals and outcomes.  If you have that, you are part way towards being able to motivate your team and your stakeholders.  So, how are your communication skills?  The PM needs to “sell” the project goals, as well as communicate progress, risks and challenge delays.

Of course the technical skills are vital; I’m the proud owner of a range of project management certificates from PRINCE2® to P3O.  You MUST be able to present your project’s progress in a concise manner – and that means using your status reports, your plan on a page, your risk and issues log.  While you may not be a project analyst, and use the skills of an informatics specialist, you need to have an analytical thought process – but the art is being able to communicate that!  Project Managers need to think on their feet and be prepared to adopt new principles, and I speak as someone who was thrown (without warning) into Jack Welch’s Workout programme!   Today, while  PRINCE2® remains the standard MSP and P3O qualifications are taking precedent.  The PM must also know that those technical guidelines are merely that – a framework – and they must be able to body swerve if priorities change in the business while still achieving the end goal.  And that is an art.

By the way, I got the contract!





Jan is a natural leader, who is capable of motivating her colleagues and inspiring their hardest work. She efficiently manages to be assertive in delegating jobs whilst still maintaining her vibrant and compassionate personality. In the time I have worked with Jan, she has worked on multiple work streams, in coordination with multiple departments, all within tight time limits, often mitigating conflicting personalities, and completed each job to a high, professional and detailed standard. Jan has an ability to remain calm in any situation presented to her and in turn is a genuine and strong leader, capable of excelling in the face of any challenge presented to her. Jan Lawry is an asset to any company that is lucky to employ her.

Jan is a committed healthcare professional with particular strengths in stakeholder engagement and change management. Jan has a keen understanding of the healthcare environment and the challenges it faces. She is very much focused on the patient perspective and on improving the patient experience. Jan is also a team player and has plenty to offer any setting she works in.

Jan is an excellent Project Manager, she is professional and friendly, and quickly builds working relationships enabling her to get the best out of people she works with. She has an ability to take on new knowledge quickly and manage multiple projects at the same time whilst following agreed levels of governance. I would recommend Jan to anyone looking for a quality project manager.

Jan is an experienced and dynamic individual with a passion for improving patient experience of care. I would have no hesitation in recommending her or working with her again.

Jan is a highly experienced Project Manager with fantastic interpersonal and organisational skills who has been a valued and respected member of the National Cancer Patient Information Programme.

Jan is conscientious, loyal and hard working in a way that gains the expected outcomes within agreed timeframes and yet also takes clinicians and senior managers on the journey with her, so through solid engagement. Jan was a pleasure to work with and I would have not hesitancy in working with Jan again the future.