Russell began his career as a senior analyst. Working for many years in sports drug screening. Later as a laboratory supervisor, he began to be involved in championing laboratory requirements for large IS projects.
Consultant – 9 years
Preparation of URS documentation. Validation and acceptance testing (Planning, creation and execution of validation plans and test protocols). Guest Speaker at International LIMS conferences (InfoTechPharma, RSC, European LIMS Forum and others)
IS experience – 8 years
Supporting LIMS development and management and automated analytical systems, Business-driven project justification and user requirements gathering, Intermediary role in IS project teams
In the lab – 20 years
Senior analytical laboratory scientist/supervisor
“Independence is among the most important qualities a consultant brings to a project.”
I started in LIMS projects back in the days when people were beginning to change from paper to IT systems for tracking and recording lab activities.
As systems were being designed many people in labs wanted the IT to do everything the same way as the paper system.
Following that logic, there was too much customisation, which led to a lot of systems that were bulky, complicated and unusable – as few as 50% of systems ever launched.
And that’s the ultimate measure of success: a system that is not only launched, but one that remains in long term use.
“Challenging requirements helps the team get under the skin of the system to design something that can be built and that people will use.”
To achieve that goal we do a lot of work to understand our customers’ needs from every perspective. We translate that into requirements that are robust and can be discussed with the implementation team (ours or the software vendor’s) to deliver a system the lab can put to work.
I think the hardest part of the job is dealing with people’s expectations. Every system is going to have to compromise in some ways, but that’s inevitable to make it useable. Sometimes it means that people have to adapt slightly, but it’s our job to demonstrate that they’re doing so for the greater good for the lab.
“It’s important to build confidence by empowering the team, involving them in the complete picture – we find that people are quite philosophical about it, and endlessly resourceful.”
Of course you have to earn the respect of the team – many see you initially as just another contractor – but they warm to you as they discover our professionalism and the pride we take in what we do.
Scimcon Limited, Registered in Cardiff No 4844956,
Registered Office: 57 London Road, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP11 1BS