ADLM 2023 Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo

Aug. 24, 2023

At the end of July, MLO staff attended the Association of Diagnostic and Laboratory Medicine (ADLM) conference in Anaheim, CA. It’s a huge conference, and MLO was included in the over 900 exhibitors this year. We met with a number of exhibitors and learned about the latest innovations in laboratory diagnostics. There were also many plenary and scientific sessions.

One of the sessions I attended was called “Project Management in Laboratory Medicine: Principles and Applications in Large and Small Laboratories.” The presenters described what project management is and why it is important in the laboratory, what project management in a large laboratory system looks like, and what project management in community hospital laboratories looks like. Three types of project management methodologies were explained: agile, waterfall, and hybrid. The agile methodology is an iterative approach to delivering a project that continuously incorporates customer feedback. The ability to adjust during each iteration promotes velocity and adaptability. The waterfall methodology has a clearly defined sequence for execution within project phases that do not advance until a phase receives final approval. The hybrid approach combines the best of waterfall for planning and agile for execution.

According to the Project Management Institute, qualified and experienced project managers are skilled in the following areas:

1.     Leadership and effective communication—project managers must effectively lead and communicate with their teams as well as stakeholders throughout the entire lifecycle of a project.

2.      Organization and time management—project managers must handle the organization and delegation of tasks. They must also ensure that all project materials and deliverables are completed on time.

3.      Creative problem solving and adaptability—project managers must understand how to resolve issues and adapt their projects creatively to avoid mishaps and losses.

4.      Motivation and team management—project managers must ensure their stakeholders and team members stay motivated throughout a project’s lifecycle. Moreover, they must be able to manage their team to ensure top-quality results and on-time completion of project deliverables.

Numerous tools that could be part of a project management toolbox were also shared. These tools ensure that initiatives keep moving even when a professional project manager cannot be assigned. These tools include those to help with data gathering such as a checklist, outline for organizing steps for a focus group, and a project mind mapping/brainstorming tool; tools that help with data analysis such as alternatives analysis, cost/benefit analysis, and qualitative risk analysis; tools that help with representing data such as responsibility assignment matrix, cause and effect fishbone diagram, and work breakdown tree; and tools that help with communication such as stakeholder and project communication and team roadmap. A variety of project management tools and templates are also available free through an online search.

Through my training in Lean and Six Sigma, I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact solid project management has on both large and small projects. It may seem like a lot of upfront work, but the results are clear goals, objectives, and responsibilities; improvements in effectively using staff and financial resources, and higher quality results.

I welcome your comments and questions — please send them to me at [email protected].