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© 2011 Cameron Taylor, Courtesy of PhotoshareLike a good juggler, the project manager, or management team, keeps multiple balls in the air.

Project managers assign, clarify, and track roles and responsibilities within the implementing team and among partners so that implementation needs are addressed in a timely manner without duplicating effort. In doing so, project manager(s) build and foster a strong implementation team, both within and outside their organization. This involves identifying, engaging, and coordinating diverse stakeholders including staff members, representatives from the Ministry of Health (MOH), policy makers, donors, staff from non-governmental organizations, health administrators and service providers, technology partners, clients, and more.

An mHealth project manager also may play a crucial role as liaison, or “translator,” between the technological partners or units and the health units. Though these two groups are working toward a common goal, they typically approach the project from different perspectives, with different assumptions and vocabularies. An effective project manager can help make sure the health team understands the technological abilities or limitations of the project. The project manager can also help the technological team understand the public health perspective and user context. This translation role can be critical to ensuring the mHealth solution performs as envisioned, collects useful data, and directly and efficiently addresses the health need that has been identified.

Additionally, as someone communicating with all players in the mHealth project, the project manager is in a good position to document and share lessons learned with the stakeholders and with the larger mHealth community.

KEY CONSIDERATIONS

  • Have you identified a project manager who possesses the key attributes needed to successfully manage the mHealth program?
  • Have the roles and responsibilities of members of the implementing team and the partners been clearly defined and communicated?