Better Team Management in R&D

Milou van der Lans August 26th 2020

Research output and the ability to grow and achieve company goals is heavily dependent on the ability of team members to work together and communicate. Often, end-to-end workflows span across multiple teams covering different disciplines. For example, a microbiologist team might perform in-lab experiments, after which the data collected is handed to the bioinformatics group for data analysis. Staying competitive in an ever-moving industry, both academic and R&D, depends on building and constructing an effective and well-established collaborative environment.

A company’s ability to generate accurate, quality data and achieve long-term research goals is dependent on how you, as a manager, lead collaboration and communication within and between teams. We have collated a number of tips that will help you manage a collaborative environment effectively and improve communication between teams.

Define your team structure and the team member’s respective roles

Pre-defining your group, setting individual roles and establishing each team member’s respective responsibilities will allow you to set the basis for effective teamwork. Furthermore, setting data access privileges allows you to control your data security on a granular level. You can use your ELN to create groups and define member’s access rights and permissions to manage your team’s data effectively.

Labstep allows you to create team Workspaces where you can easily assign projects and experiments. The Workspace owner can edit roles and access privileges for their team. Once you’ve completed your high-level setup, you can easily change viewing and editing permissions to unique experiments and protocols within the Workspace.

Communicate in the context of your work

To improve communication and streamline collaboration it is highly recommended that teams have the ability to interact on data within their context. For example, when communication is done via email it is detached from the experiment and/or project and therefore difficult and time-consuming to process. Using the notes & comments interface in your ELN will enable team members to discuss the specific project/ experiment while keeping all the relevant information immediately at hand. Connecting your interactions with the relevant data will save you lots of time in the future trying to locate the emails sent about a specific experiment.

Labstep enables you to:

  • write inline comments on an experiment record or a protocol. You can add comments to an instructional step; to data results; or to the overall experiment record or protocol. You can also comment on inventory items and order requests in your collaborative environment.
  • assign tasks to team members. Members can assign experiment records to other group members and requests for tasks within the experiment workflow to be completed.
  • share content items such as experiment records or SOPs amongst different teams, collating data, notes and further information from multiple sources into one, comprehensive record.
  • post in the discussion channel of any of Workspace. This is used mainly for general posts, directed to the entire team, such as the need to prepare solutions, group meeting invitations and so on.

Keep track of your shared inventory & order requests

Handling consumables, materials and samples is a daily challenge for laboratories. The number of aliquots used, produced and manipulated per day can be overwhelming when it comes to organising them, especially when you need to update stock availability.

Setting up your inventory management with Labstep’s inventory module helps you manage your resources efficiently amongst your team members. From cell lines to chemicals to samples produced, using Labstep’s resource categories and their unique metadata fields and storage location functionality makes keeping your inventory up to date easy. In addition, team members can submit order requests when stock is running low, which can subsequently be approved and fulfilled by the team members in charge. For more guidance on how to set up an inventory management system, learn more here.

Effectively control projects with external collaborators

Set up your ELN environment in such a way that working with external collaborators is easy, but a secure manner. You want to keep control over what you disclose or share with any external parties, without compromising on ease of collaboration. With Labstep, you have the option of setting up a separate Workspace for you and your collaborators, to which you can choose to share selected files, carefully adjusting access rights and permissions. Collaborators can add their own data, pick up their part of the workflow or comment on resulting data. You are able to terminate the collaboration and save the data in case you are no longer working together.

Use an equipment scheduling system

Using an equipment scheduling module helps avoid equipment double booking on shared pieces of equipment. Using a software that includes an equipment module will enable you and your team not only to plan experiments and book-related equipment in advance but also follow equipment maintenance schedules. Organised equipment scheduling can prevent undesired tensions among team members and the failure of a procedure due to equipment unavailability.

Labstep is a provider of scientific data management software for R&D organisations across industries (Biotech, Pharma, Biology, Chemicals, Agriculture etc) who need to manage, capture, share and use data effectively.

The Labstep platform is an end to end flexible research environment that connects your notebook, inventory, applications and data in one collaborative workspace.

To learn more about Labstep’s lab inventory management module, get in touch. Contact us or book a demo today.