Motivating Clinical Sas Programmers


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Our take on how to categorize programmers and keep them interested in their work.

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  • Why need for prog vs. non prog activities? Prog require concentration and thought, people aren’t always in the right mindset to do this effectively. Alternative activities allow brain to be most productiive.
  • Why need for prog vs. non prog activities? Prog require concentration and thought, people aren’t always in the right mindset to do this effectively. Alternative activities allow brain to be most productiive.
  • Easier to manage with real deliverables.
  • Motivating Clinical Sas Programmers

    1. 1. Motivating Clinical SAS® Programmers Daniel Boisvert & Andy Illidge
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are Clinical SAS Programmers? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is Motivation? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CDISC implementation example </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting up the Team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assigning Tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rewarding Them </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
    3. 3. What is the job of a Clinical SAS Programmer? <ul><li>Manage hundreds of datasets </li></ul><ul><li>Thousands of data points </li></ul><ul><li>Understand all interdependencies of the data points </li></ul><ul><li>Deliver accurate, timely, and reproducible analyses that determine the approval of novel therapies </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clinical SAS Programming is a difficult mental activity and requires uninterrupted concentration. </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Who are Clinical SAS Programmers? <ul><li>Clinical SAS Programmers…not software developers </li></ul><ul><li>Clinical SAS Programmers come from all different areas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From different educational backgrounds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From different geographical locations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Genzyme Statistical Programmer Histories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trained Statistician </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health systems management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lab Technician </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Computer Science – Fortran, VB </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clinical Psychology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medical Terminology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sociology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biomedical Engineering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Electrical Engineering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>English as a Foreign Language Teacher </li></ul></ul>Dan
    5. 5. What is Motivation? <ul><li>Something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act </li></ul>Motive Motivate Motivation To provide with a motive The act or process of motivating
    6. 6. What is Motivation – Informal Definition <ul><li>is nothing more than an inner force that causes an individual to perform an action </li></ul>Motivation
    7. 7. I’m not motivated to do this… <ul><li>Motivation can be misdirected but people always act for a reason </li></ul>
    8. 8. Keep them interested <ul><li>Employees need : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A laundry list of activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Short and long term activities (“Pet” Projects) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programming vs. Non-programming activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Healthy balance of “real” work vs. meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When unmotivated with one task focus can be switched to another </li></ul>
    9. 9. What’s THE worst?! <ul><ul><li>The biggest demotivating factors are those that affect us constantly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programmers: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Slow computers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Server Crashes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>VPN drops </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Red tape / Needless documentation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of automation for mindless activities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Office politics </li></ul></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Practical Usage
    11. 11. A Project <ul><li>Set up the Team </li></ul><ul><li>Identify Programmers’ Strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Assign tasks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Documentation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Define.xml Creation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ADaM Structure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reward them </li></ul>
    12. 12. Set up the Team <ul><li>Start with an offsite Kick-off meeting </li></ul><ul><li>Define the team members and responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Create short term real deliverables </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Everything can’t be due in two years </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Allow team members to make decisions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The A-Ha! moment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Create a medium for team communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start a Wiki! </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Identify Strengths – Assign Tasks <ul><li>Groupings of Clinical SAS Programmers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Leader </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scientist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statistician </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Classification of Programmers The Lead Programmer (Band Leader): <ul><li>Highly organized </li></ul><ul><li>Can assign and triage tasks in real time </li></ul><ul><li>Understands the intricacies of the clinical trial </li></ul><ul><li>Knows the data </li></ul><ul><li>Good at team work </li></ul><ul><li>Good communicator </li></ul>
    15. 15. Classification of Programmers The Developer: <ul><li>Understands “Big Picture” needs </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to learn and apply new technical skills and concepts quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Logical thinker </li></ul><ul><li>Aptitude for problem solving </li></ul>
    16. 16. Classification of Programmers The Scientist: <ul><li>Highly detailed </li></ul><ul><li>Purposeful and Methodical </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific background </li></ul><ul><li>Understands Laboratory data </li></ul>
    17. 17. Classification of Programmers The Statistician: <ul><li>Understands analytical methods </li></ul><ul><li>Highly detailed </li></ul><ul><li>Understands importance of each data point and its effect on the analyses </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to visualize and interpret complex statistical concepts </li></ul>
    18. 18. A Case Study : CDISC Implementation <ul><li>Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide data/metadata standards for Clinical Trials for FDA submission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Standardized variable names/labels, dataset names/labels </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Standardized dataset structures </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>SDTM – S tudy D ata T abulation M odel </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Raw data in a standard structure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>ADaM - A nalysis Da ta M odel </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Data transformed into a format that is easily used for creation of Tables, Listings and Figures. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Define.xml </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provides the FDA reviewers with a clear description of the usage, structure, and contents of each dataset and each variable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Presents the metadata of SDTM and ADaM </li></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 19. A Case Study : CDISC Implementation <ul><li>Four Sub-projects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Documentation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Define.xml Creation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ADaM Structure </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. A Case Study : The Project Team 8 years 2 years 6 years 6 months Years at Company 10 years 5 years 15 years 5 years Years of Experience Statistician Lead Scientist Developer
    21. 21. Project Organization <ul><li>Leads the initiative </li></ul><ul><li>Organizes meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Takes minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Follows up on Action Items </li></ul><ul><li>Provides status updates to upper management </li></ul><ul><li>Prepares individual teams for actual implementation </li></ul>
    22. 22. Project Documentation <ul><li>Creates flowcharts of business processes </li></ul><ul><li>Creates documentation of macros </li></ul><ul><li>Understands the effect on existing SOPs </li></ul><ul><li>Updates SOPs </li></ul><ul><li>Prepares training materials </li></ul>
    23. 23. Define.xml Creation <ul><li>Defines what metadata is needed for the define.xml </li></ul><ul><li>Creates a schema for how the metadata connects together </li></ul><ul><li>Learns XML and XSLT </li></ul><ul><li>Writes macros to create the define.xml from the metadata </li></ul><ul><li>Documents the macro </li></ul><ul><li>Provides training </li></ul>
    24. 24. ADaM Structure <ul><li>Fits data into pre-specified analysis datasets based on the implementation guide </li></ul><ul><li>Defines and document the difference to the current model and its effect on downstream analyses </li></ul><ul><li>Ensures that no data is lost in the transformations </li></ul><ul><li>Creates and provides training </li></ul>
    25. 25. After something good has happened <ul><li>Recognition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not have to be big! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not have to be money! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not have to be at the end! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should be given fairly and personally </li></ul></ul>
    26. 26. So, How would you reward your programmers? <ul><ul><li>Nice Dinner with colleagues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A round of drinks on the house </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adding another physical disk to the user’s computer so SASWORK can be on a separate physical drive </li></ul></ul>
    27. 27. Conclusion <ul><li>Once lost, motivation is hard to regain </li></ul><ul><li>Starting off on the right foot is a necessity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good working environment conducive to thought </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Concentration on Teamwork </li></ul></ul>
    28. 28. Questions and Discussion
    29. 29. Contact Information <ul><li>Daniel Boisvert </li></ul><ul><li>Principal SAS Programmer </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Andy Illidge </li></ul><ul><li>Associate Director, Statistical Programming </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>