Project Management for the Advanced Practice Nurse

A project requires adequate project management to be successful, where the Advanced Practice Nurse Project Manager (APN PM) can build a roadmap, support the project team, define the tools, and implement the project tasks. In modern nursing, it is not uncommon that Informatics Nurses (IN) and Informatics Nurse Specialists (INSs) play a crucial role in developing strategic plans and creating successful policies and procedures (American Nurses Association, 2015). INs and INSs can oversee all the phases of a project, managing resources and implementing activities. Proper project planning follows a set of guidelines which define details, tasks, and timeline.

These steps are not unchangeable and can be tailored according to the project scope (Sipes, 2016). They describe work breakdown structure (WBS) and schedules of the projects. This initial planning is paramount for the success of the project: a failure in a clear definition of tools and schedules results in project teams struggling to interpret the planning accurately, hence, jeopardizing the final success of the project.

More specifically, some factors, known as Critical Success Factors (CSFs) are especially delicate in decreeing the success or the failure of a project. CSFs relate to a few areas where satisfactory results will ensure competitive performance and successful outcomes (Sipes, 2016). On the contrary, poor results within these areas will make the project fail. These areas concern scope, charter, communication, risk, assigning responsibility, and budget. Below, a more in-depth analysis of these factors is provided.

Initiating a project means, first of all, the definition of the deliverables, the desired outcomes of the project, of the charter, and the identification of the stakeholders: unclear or inconsistent deliverables are likely to result in lack of stakeholders and support to leadership, inevitably causing the failure of whatever project. For the successful development of the plan, stakeholders should be continuously kept informed of the advancement of the project.

Poorly shared info with both stakeholders and project teams might reflect a spread lack of communication skill at all levels. Poor communication is a risk area, and it should be constantly monitored, and eventually improved (Sipes, 2016). Communication is particularly vital in assigning task/work packages, allocating resources, and whenever the availability of new information highlights the need for changes in the set of tools and documents. Insufficient communication means a high chance of failure. A two-way approach is recommended to prevent info from going unnoticed.

Poor planning and communication lead, almost inevitably, to unclear roles and undefined responsibilities, generating chaos in building activity lists and in estimating activity duration by the task owners. Building the budget, managing the budget, and estimating the costs are other crucial steps in a project (Sipes, 2016). Failing to report and escalate put-of-line variances, imprecise assessment or cuttings of the budget can result in a failure of the project. Also, every project is associated to a certain level of uncertainty: risk-management is a crucial tool in defining sources of risks, risks, impact on the project, and possible solutions.

Poor risk-management can easily lead to a failure of the projects. Other causes that can result in a failure of a project include inadequate corporate culture, lack of kick-off and planning meetings, scarce monitoring and controlling, and change of management. The latter can be especially challenging because it involves a correct assessment of the mood of an organization, a matter that can hinder the project remarkably if not approached properly.

References

American Nurses Association (2015). Nursing informatics: Scope and standards of practice (2nd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: Nursesbooks.org.

Sipes, C. (2016). Project management for the advanced practice nurse. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.