- Improved administration.
- Improved laboratory management.
- Improved project management and oversight.
After discussion with the members, these were further clarified. It was felt that the lab needed to be broken into teams with regular meetings scheduled for each team and as a whole group. This tied in with a need for more supervision of projects from the beginning including pairing up new students with a senior person with some knowledge of the project. There was also talk of using project management tools to track project goals. Goal setting and clearly defining the projects were stressed as important for all lab members.
After comprehensive discussions with the Lab Chair, it was decided that there were three main areas to be addressed:
1. Adjusting the structure of the Lab organisation
2. Clarifying the purpose, principles and activities of the Lab
3. Developing a simple, straight forward project management process.
1. A relationship/network map was developed to adjust the structure of the Lab into Resource Hubs. This had a number of advantages: it gave management experience to the senior scientists by giving them budget responsibilities (including funding priorities), refocused projects with common objectives, allowed technicians to be aligned to specific goals and budget management, and so on.
The new proposed structure (see below) was introduced to all the members of the Lab – their feedback and thoughts were addressed and incorporated.
As a result, research output and reporting has improved, there are better opportunities for additional funding, and there is an increased possibility that the research results can be utilised in practical applications.
Perhaps above all else, in the Lab there is a restored sense of responsibility to society (public service) and to those who are supporting their work.
‘Whatever you did with the lab, it’s working. Manuscripts or outlines to be read are piling up. The management structure with the hubs remains intact. I would like to discuss ways of measuring the manner in which the new set-up has actually improved the lab. I don’t just mean output, but the people seem happier and more dialed-in too.’ Laboratory Chair/Director