News & Events

Managing Complex Research

Professional Development and Learning Series

Event Details

Professional Development Opportunities

Date: May 19, 2020

Time: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Tuesday May 19, 2020: 1:30pm – 3:00pm EDT

Managing Complex Research — Tasks, Projects and Portfolio Strategies

Science is a social enterprise. Its progress depends on the mutual obligation of multiple actors working in coordination towards commonly held goals. This means that as science gets “bigger” the demands for coordination, organization and management know-how increases over time. This talk is organized to introduce post-graduate students to simple project management methods and strategies using a single tool (Trello, with a few add-ons). All of the content of the talk can be easily implemented in a wide range of similar tools (Post-It notes, MS Project, Jira, Wrike, Monday, Favro, etc.). This presentation introduces project organization and planning at three scales: individual tasks, projects (collections of functionally related tasks) and portfolios (collections of projects). At each scale, it identifies essential things you would need to efficiently manage teams and it introduces several ways of securing this knowledge with the least amount of effort, possible.

It is still exceptional in natural sciences education to suggest that business skills like finance, project management and recruiting/marketing are going to be determinant career factors. But much of science, and most of astroparticle physics research, requires large teams of people to collaborate on multifaceted, time-sensitive tasks across multiple and often interdependent projects. Research careers increasingly require us to learn a few things about project management — acquiring these skills is a key step in preparing yourself for leadership positions in scientific research. We need to spend a bit of time developing a mental model of how we should try and organize, as well as gaining practical skill in using organizational tools and methods.

Presenter: Edward Thomas — a McDonald Institute officer and former startup adviser, engineering researcher and business journalist — is offering this seminar on a widely adopted methodology for scalable innovations that uses scientific methods.