How does the required skillset change as you progress in your career from a study Statistician or study Programmer to a study lead role?
From my experience as a study lead and also as a line manager of Statisticians and Programmers in that role, I am well aware of the massive change that can be experienced when transitioning from a heavily technical role, where you manage your own tasks and often work in isolation, to one where you are leading a team of people.
As a study lead you need to be:
- Much more people focused with strong communication skills, building trust within your team and with any stakeholders you work with
- Attentive to the bigger picture rather than buried in the detail
- Well-practiced in the art of delegation and ensuring successful delivery through others
- Actively networking – getting to know not just your team but also other study leads and stakeholders. ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’
So, what are the 5 key skills that you need to develop to be a successful study or project lead?
Great time and project management skills
A key part of the role is setting, agreeing and managing timelines for the study deliverables as well as effective resourcing and resource management (knowing who to put on what tasks).
Ability to build good relationships
It’s really important to build good working relationships with your team as well as other stakeholders, as this fosters mutual trust and respect as well as greater collaboration, engagement and productivity.
Able to cultivate a high performing team
High performing teams are goal orientated, efficient, well trained and focused on delivering quality outputs.
The best study leads maintain a really good balance between people and task, making sure their team delivers to time, quality and budget whilst also ensuring the team members stay motivated and enjoy working for them.
Ability to anticipate problems and potential risks and successfully mitigate for them
Excellent risk management skills are critical. It’s really important that study leads don’t just get buried in the detailed deliverables but also see the big picture.
Successfully chair meetings (both internally and externally)
Study leads need to ensure that the meetings they chair, whether with their own internal study team or with the client, have a clearly define purpose, are run efficiently, are productive and that clear decisions are made and documented.
Recognising the critical role study leads play and the need to equip them with these skills, Veramed has developed an interactive Study Lead Development Programme split into 9 distinct modules that covers all the key skills needed. The first cohort of new study leads enrolled on the programme are due to complete it in the next couple of months and demand is such that we are planning to put a second cohort through the training, starting in October 2022.