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That was about 30 years ago, so one might look condescendingly upon our poor ancestors who struggled without email and the web. Thus far, I have been thinking in general terms, and readers from any professional field will recognise the picture I am painting. Events over recent years, such as late-phase product failures, show graphically how risky drug development is. The received wisdom these days is that if you are later than one-third into an established class, you have no chance of getting your money back, no matter how good the product is. Over nearly 40 years in pharma, I can say that a very large proportion of errors leading to project failure are rooted in people not knowing what they should know, because somebody has forgotten to tell them. As ever, the solution lies at the top, with senior management needing to set the standard for good communication. One of the most basic questions in projects (or in organisations) is ‘Who does what?’ In one company, I repeatedly asked for an organogram of departments and functions, and it took four whole years for it to appear. Well of course, that’s about a typical cycle of staff turnover, but that’s no excuse for not doing it - it’s a living document. Too often I see people running project plans that are little more than an expensive way of drawing bar charts. I am now challenging what has become the accepted dichotomy between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills’ in project management. Each piece of work has its own deliverable, somebody doing the work, somebody responsible for getting it done (they might not be the same), and somebody checking the quality of the deliverable. One client of mine had frequent delays at the transition from pre-clinical to Phase I studies.
Etiquette precluded direct challenges to the authors of the data package, so the Phase I people tried to pull it apart to find out where the problems were. It surprises me that, in this field in which regulation and documentation seem to increase exponentially, people can leave a company without leaving behind records that will enable someone else to grab the baton.
I have to put top management in the firing line again; is it not their responsibility to ensure business continuity? Vertically, there is the problem of line management, such as the dilution of a message as it goes up the hierarchy. A solution to this involves the communication of possible future needs of the project - in other words, a risk management plan.
Horizontal communication issues are often seen in the multidisciplinary world of drug development.
This should not be a problem if the project plan has defined responsibilities clearly, but what if it didn’t? One department insisted on managing contractors who were assigned to a clinical trial managed by another department. This is just one small aspect of the need for a continuous feed of information to the project manager, and out to the team members. If you are not hearing anything from a team member, it could mean there is something they don’t want to tell you.
In reality it need not be so hard, as we have excellent IT tools now that can do the repeated nudging for you. This approach homes in on the key information needed, and mitigates against dilution of messages by irrelevant data.

I am not going to tackle email overload head-on, partly because that’s a feature of modern business that isn’t particularly a problem of drug development.
Have you ever had problems in maintaining a conversation with other people, despite the fact that you consider yourself a pretty smart person? If so, then most likely this left you puzzled and you were surprised by your own inactivity, since you know so many interesting things. In fact, people with an average level of intelligence can often keep up small talk better than those who are much smarter than them. Many smart people are unsuccessful in maintaining interesting conversations and have poor social skills. Smart people spend most of their lives striving for intellectual advancement, but forget to develop their social and emotional sides. They may be extremely serious and believe that they should only devote time and discussion to serious things instead of wasting it on trifles. In some cases, people with above average intelligence feel superior to others, and think that there is no sense to waste their time on people who do not deserve to talk to them. Many smart people are very shy or have poor self-esteem, which makes them feel that they are not interesting people.
Some very smart people, especially those strong in science and mathematics in particular, may suffer from what is called Asperger’s syndrome. So what to do if you are one of those people who are pretty smart but have difficulty communicating with others?
First, you have to ask yourself if developing your communication skills is something that you really want or need? You have to devote yourself to practicing new skills and change your attitudes towards yourself and others.
So let’s focus on pharmaceutical R&D, and in particular clinical development where (with a nod to ‘Bladerunner’) “I have seen starships burn”. This is more of a problem than people being told the wrong things, although that happens a lot as well. The same ‘who does what’ question applies to projects, and of course at that level it’s far easier to answer. Set up properly, a project plan deals with all the relationships, accountabilities, and responsibilities that define collaborative working. The former are taken to include planning, progress control, reporting, and delivery, while the latter define what is required to get people to do what you want.
All these names are attached to the task because their owners have agreed to what they are doing, and when they will do it. This required a lot of probing questions, until it emerged that the Phase I team simply doubted the data that were being offered by their pre-clinical colleagues. Everyone needs to ask themselves the question: “What happens if I fall under a bus?” How will the business or project carry on without me? This is particularly a problem in large organisations; the need for remedial action may be very obvious at the clinical trial level, and needs higher management approval, but that approval is held up because the approver doesn’t understand the need.
That way, risk mitigation can be approved in advance so that the project manager can implement it without having to ascend Mount Olympus to talk to the gods. Every clinical trial involves a wide range of specialisms, grouped into functional departments.

Thus, the contractor’s invoices bypassed the project manager, even though he was the key person to approve the expense. It could mean they are overloaded because senior line management has assigned them to other work without telling you.
Yes, it’s hard work, but the project manager has to be badgering people nearly every day to stay in control. They may think that the development of social and emotional skills is not very important, or may simply feel that at a certain point, it is too late to begin to develop these new and complex skills.
This leads to them quickly losing interest in the conversation if they notice that it lacks real substance. It is believed that this is related to autism and can manifest itself in different ways.Quite often people who are subjects to Asperger’s syndrome, to some extent, can be very effective when they focus on scientific matters, but uncapable to establish social interactions that other people take for granted.
No matter how smart a person is, a lack of social interaction skills may adversely affect his life and career. Taking on such commitments, you are likely to become much more successful in different areas of your life. This suggests that good communication is more dependent on people than it is on technology.
One of the reasons is not poor product performance in the clinic, but simply arriving too late to the market. To me, a late project is a failed project, and it can be late for many reasons that could have been avoided. In reality the division is artificial, because the project plan is the result of all the persuasive negotiation that the good project manager is employed to do. The solution was to get the teams together, to encourage openness, and in particular to involve the Phase I team in the run-up to the transfer, so that they were comfortable with the process before it happened.
So the project manager didn’t know that bills were coming in, and being signed off, when they should have been checked against progress of the project.
I have never spent time better than on planning, and in particular on planning deliverables. In reality, there’s an argument that we suffer information overload, and that we are in serious danger of missing the important things because of it. People are assigned to projects as required, so they end up with two managers (at least) - their line manager and the project manager.
By defining at the outset the concrete items that the study will produce, it becomes clear what is to be communicated, by whom, and when. But think about this; if you are swamped by emails and can’t get on top of them, could it be that you are not delegating effectively? If they think that they can not support a good conversation, they become even more nervous and withdrawn. She is particularly interested in topics regarding introversion, consciousness and subconscious, perception, human mind's potential, as well as the nature of reality and the universe. One of the biggest problems over time is the transfer of projects from team to team as the drug goes through development.

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communication problems in universities

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