The manager's program management department works within research and development (R&D), managing the development of new products from the concept stage all the way through production. He said, "Because we're in the medical device industry, we have to comply with FDA and ISO regulations, so lots of documentation has to get done to ensure that we're following design control and other aspects of those guidelines."
- Cumbersome manual project tracking
- No visibility between various project teams
- Redundant projects begun because decisions to start new projects made without context
- Inability to easily track resource allocation and actual hours worked
With a team of four project managers in San Clemente, and about 12 engineers in Salt Lake City who also serve as project managers, ICU Medical typically works on a list of 35 to 40 projects at any given time. He said, "Right now, we're bringing in a plan in Ensenada, Mexico, so that will add another 30 to 40 projects." When the manager began working at ICU Medical, the company managed its projects using a combination of spreadsheets, Access databases, email and "sticky notes." His goal coming in was to help the group enable visibility, "Just to have a complete list of everything going on in the company to make sure we're focused on the right things. Early on, that wasn't there. There was no list at all. A lot of decisions to say, 'Yes, let's do this one or that one,' were made in a bubble and without context. So we had redundant projects or projects that required new capital equipment, and there was no cross-talk. One department couldn't see what the other department was doing. We needed a common viewpoint so that we could collaborate and make smart choices."