5 Methods to Ensure the Failure of Your Accreditation Project

May 29th, 2009

Running a successful accreditation project takes skill, energy, and resources… but getting your project to fail is easy, if you follow this advice:

Overload your staff. Assign the primary responsibility for the project to your IRB Chair or Administrator, without providing any additional staff resources to support him/her.  Choose the busiest people in your organization to serve on your project team, especially if they travel a lot!  Keep expectations for regular job responsibilities the same, while assuring your staff that heads will roll if accreditation is not achieved in the reasonable 3-month timeline established.

Disregard skills and strengths.  Be sure the person in charge of project communication is anti-social, and assign document revision responsibility to the people who procrastinate the most.  It’s also helpful to make sure there is nobody with project management experience on your team, since it won’t be necessary to be organized or pay attention to silly things like budget, timeline, action items, roles & responsibilities, tracking changes, etc.

Procrastinate.  It’s important to wait until the last minute to convert your documents to PDF and assemble the final package. Everyone loves the excitement of figuring out how to solve technical problems at 3am on the day before a deadline!  For an added thrill, make sure you’re out of toner for your printer so that you can hunt for a 24-hour office supply store too!

Decentralize your documents.  To make sure everything is prevented from being backed up regularly, it’s important to store your policy documents on several computers.  It’s helpful if these computers are over 5 years old, and are regularly brought home and stored on the kitchen table next to pitchers of water or other liquids.  When your data is lost, you’ll be able to reconstruct everything with a clean slate, instead of worrying about restoring from a remote server.

Underestimate the usefulness of technology.  Be sure you have no budget for information technology – computers and software are overrated for improving efficiency, working collaboratively, or automating repetitive tasks.  Why invest a modest amount of money in time- and energy-saving technology when you could WASTE BOATLOADS doing it inefficiently?!?  You can always have your VP of Research help do document conversion and application assembly in the eleventh hour – it’s an excellent use of his or her time.