Efficient project management means lower costs to the patient.

-Hana D’Amico

In medical device development and healthcare packaging, we have a unique challenge; we must create efficacious medical devices and packaging systems at the lowest possible cost to patients. Utilizing project management systems can be an incredible tool to keep our project development groups on task. The cost-to-patient value system in medical device packaging is an essential theme that must stay alive as our groups develop systems that will assure sterile device delivery to the point of care. 

Systems like scrum have become a popular framework for developing and sustaining complex products. The scrum system is handy with a development team with many dichotomous disciplines, such as engineering, marketing, and manufacturing. So, for the unacquainted, let’s peek into these management tools like scrum. 

If you are learning about Scrum for the first time, it is essential to note that this framework is tried and true and was developed by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber in the early 1990s. In addition, the developers have been publishing the Scrum Guide since 2010 and updating the information as needed.  As noted by the founders, this proven framework helps “people, teams, and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.” When implementing the various processes, techniques, and methods, a person or organization can clearly see the efficacy of areas within their business structure where improvements can be made. 

Scrum was founded on the idea that knowledge comes from experience, from making decisions on what is observed, and from the importance of focusing on the essentials and reducing waste. The principles behind Scrum would benefit many industries, especially those in developing and sustaining complex products such as healthcare packaging and medical device development. The success of Scrum will be determined by how well your organization is willing to commit to and stay focused on the framework while employing openness, respect, and courage. In addition, transparency, inspection, and adaptation are the pillars of successful utilization. 

Transparency ensures that important decisions are being made because the processes and work completed are completely visible to those performing the work. Anything less could lead to diminished value and increased risk. A frequent inspection of the Scrum artifacts and progress toward agreed goals must become an integral part of the process. As noted by the founders, “Inspection enabled adaptation. Inspection without adaptation is considered pointless. Lastly, as aspects of the process vary from the intended goal, adjustments must be made quickly to ensure efficiency and desired outcomes. 

The Scrum team comprises one Scrum Master, one Product Owner, and Developers. This cohesive unit focuses on the Product Goal. For this team to be successful, members must be self-managing and have all the skills necessary to create value for each Sprint. The founders recommend ten or fewer people, leading to better communication and increased productivity. Each role has individual goals that must be prioritized and executed to ensure the entire team’s success.

The team is tasked with implementing the Scrum values and pillars throughout the events. Several events occur within each Sprint, which is described as “a container for all other events.” These events include Sprint Planning, Daily Scrums, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective. In addition, artifacts are developed to maximize the transparency of critical information. These artifacts include the Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, and Increment. Each is committed to ensuring it provides information focused on transparency and reinforcement of Scrum values. 

It is of notable importance that one understands that Scrum is not developed to be rigid and is often utilized by organizations in a way that best benefits their end goals. Although it may take some practice to implement Scrum, the framework has been created in a way that is simple and easy to understand. Organizations making this change must ensure they are ready and able to uphold the values, pillars, and roles. 

At one point through the medical device packaging development arc, we will run into cost cul-de-sacs that we cannot overcome. The cost of materials and human resources can only be reduced to a certain point. At this point, we can only look internally for cost savings. We must utilize advanced product development systems to efficiently use our developmental tool kit’s expensive bits and pieces.

Atlassian. (n.d.). Scrum – what it is, how it works, and why it’s awesome. Atlassian. Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://www.atlassian.com/agile/scrum 

What is Scrum? Home | Scrum Guides. (n.d.). Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://scrumguides.org/