Reducing Semiannual Review Burden Using the One Page Project Management Tool


Problem statement: Semiannual program reviews and facility inspections (semiannual reviews) require considerable effort from multiple stakeholders and are often a significant source of self-imposed administrative burden. At our institution, semiannual reviews have taken up to 200 days, due to lack of standard administrative processes, lack of visibility and ownership of those processes, and inadequate interdepartmental coordination. Our aim was to substantially reduce the time taken for semiannual reviews without requiring specialized electronic programs or financial cost.

Description of research: Between 2012 and 2014, it took an average of 137 days to complete a semiannual review from initiation of the review process to issuing the semiannual report, with a maximum time of 200 days and minimum time of 87 days. In early 2015, we developed and implemented a One Page Project Manager (OPPM) visual communication tool to manage the semiannual review. The OPPM tool allows for immediate and visible status reporting, and accurately projects milestone forecasting. We created an OPPM to track major tasks and objectives, the milestone due dates associated with each, and who was responsible for ensuring on-time completion. Making the process visible decreased confusion about what needed to be done and increased individual accountability so that tasks were completed on time. After the implementation of the OPPM tool, our institute’s 2015 semiannual review was completed in 43 days, which was half the time as the previous review and three times faster than the two-year average. This easy-to-use, freely available administrative tool significantly reduced administrative burden associated with the semiannual review and can be implemented by animal research organizations of any size without specialized electronic programs, technical skills, or financial cost.