Associate Director, Project Management

Rahway, NJ, US
April 06 2018
Organization Type
Requisition ID: PRO016998

Merck & Co., Inc. Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. known as Merck in the United States and Canada, is a global health care leader with a diversified portfolio of prescription medicines, vaccines and animal health products. The difference between potential and achievement lies in the spark that fuels innovation and inventiveness; this is the space where Merck has codified its legacy for over a century. Merck’s success is backed by ethical integrity, forward momentum, and an inspiring mission to achieve new milestones in global healthcare.

Global Project and Alliance Management (GPAM) sits in the R&D organization at Merck (Merck Research Laboratories, or MRL). The Project Managers and Alliance Managers in GPAM are core members of discovery, development, and alliance teams at Merck. Project Managers drive these cross-functional teams to deliver projects and products that improve human health and Merck’s business, and Alliance Managers ensure successful collaborations with our R&D alliance partners. The GPAM Project Management Office (PMO) is responsible for the development, sustainment, and training of GPAM-owned systems, tools, and business processes as well as alignment with Finance, IT, and functional area operations groups within Merck.This position will be based in Rahway, NJ (RY). 

Position Description/SummaryOperating under the guidance of a Director or Executive Director, Project Management, the Associate Director, is a member of the Development Teams, to plan and execute Merck’s development and in-line portfolio efforts. Project managers are expected to participate in/or contribute to GPAM department initiatives and/or continuous improvement activities. The Specialist, PM specific responsibilities may include: 

In addition, the Associate Director will be expected to take on the following important responsibilities: 

1) Direct management of a staff of Specialists (P2) and / or Senior Specialists (P3) including understanding their projects and developing their knowledge of drug/vaccine/biologics development, governance & team processes, PM skills and ultimate development of their talent2) Leading or participating in the direction and execution of major change projects that impact Merck, MRL, PM or team performance.
Staff Management (40%)
  • Manage, direct and develop a staff of approximately 4-8 Specialists (P2) and/or Senior Specialists (P3) in any type of drug development project, irrespective of phase, complexity, priority or involvement with an alliance partner. 
  • Administrative management includes working with staff to 1) set appropriate objectives and monitor against these, 2) provide career guidance and ensure employees have Employee Development Plans and meaningful discussions on an ongoing basis, 3) ensure compliance with training policy and procedures, and 4) conduct effective calibration of employees and provide objective and honest assessments, including taking corrective measures if employee performance does not meet expectations.
  • In addition to "administrative management" of staff, expectations are that the incumbent will also coach their staff in the nuances of managing a development project—management of team dynamics, understanding stages of development and how functional inputs interact to ensure project progression, coaching on MRL/ Merck processes relating to development team management (eg. VLAD, EDP creation, contracting, etc.), PM skills and team management. 
  • Must be able to work effectively with GPM Staff Managers to manage Specialist resources across the entire pipeline, ensuring that Specialists are focused on development project activities and have opportunities to grow and learn.
  • Must be able to understand and assimilate details across projects to ensure effective understanding and communication of interdependencies between projects to Specialists.
  • Provide technical guidance and oversight to Specialists, ensuring they understand TA priorities and issues in relation to their projects.

Management of Drug Development Team(s) (40%)
  • Able to manage development projects of any type independently, including those which require experience with drug / vaccine / biologics development, the Merck organization and Merck processes and procedures related to development teams due to their significant importance to the company or complexity. Must be able to support any type of project, irrespective of phase, therapeutic area, priority or involvement with an alliance partner. Other: Talent Development, 

Process Improvement / PM Operational Support (20%)
  • In addition to managing a development project(s) and a staff of Specialists, may do one or more of the following, 
  • Work to ensure that PM best practices are being employed across projects: consistency of project model, scheduling practices, project cost estimation and schedule risk evaluation within GPM.
  • Participate in continuous improvement projects that require product development experience and understanding of Merck procedures and policies, and which significantly impact the work and / or effectiveness of PM. These projects can relate to optimizing PM systems and operations (eg. leading efforts to improve planning systems / platforms, etc.) or to improving the functioning of teams and / or development processes.
  • May manage cross divisional work groups and lead or input into improvements to processes / templates that support product development or project management.



  • Bachelor’s degree required; concentration in a scientific or applied discipline strongly preferred
  • A minimum of five years of experience in project management or a related role required 
  • Demonstrated leadership and ethics; demonstrated ability to hold others accountable for delivery
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a team setting, including demonstrated experience building and leading teams, committees, task forces, etc.
  • Strong collaboration and problem-solving skills; able to establish good working relationships with employees at all levels, resolve conflict and provide feedback, and to devise and implement creative solutions to problems
  • Strong communication skills, both oral and written; demonstrated ability to speak up appropriately and to raise issues to teams and management
  • Must have experience with the planning and execution of strategies for drug / vaccine product registration and commercialization / life-cycle management (can be R&D, manufacturing or commercial perspective).
  • Well connected and networked within MRL and Merck or has attributes that would allow establishment of such networks rapidly
  • Demonstrated ability to manage resources, time and budget effectively for given development projects; is business savvy and results oriented.
  • Proven ability to analyze, recommend, contribute to development of conceptual plans for and lead implementation of strategic, process, team improvement and change initiatives cross-functionally
  • Effective at energizing others, establishing clear goals, mentoring and coaching within a team setting
  • Ability to delegate work effectively and hold others accountable for deliverables
  • Demonstrates situational leadership and creative problem solving within PM and teams
  • Well developed and effective team facilitation and leadership skills; able to establish cooperative team environments; experience in leading teams, committees or task forces is preferred.
  • Able to understand project details, but keep overall “big picture” view of projects, TA priorities, and strategies
  • Demonstrated ability to manage, mentor and coach employees and set high standards for performance; has highly developed interpersonal skills and respected by colleagues for good judgment and fairness
  • A track-record of accomplishment in a project management type role is highly desirable.
  • History of operational excellence, facilitation across diverse groups to deliver on objectives, ability to define solutions and formulate and execute on actions across a global organization. 
  • Highly organized and capable of working with attention to detail. Able to relate project details to larger project objectives.
  • Effective interpersonal and teamworking skills; able to create and foster relationships and collaborations. 
  • An effective communicator:
    • Demonstrated accomplishment and skill in oral and written communication.
    • Knows when and how to speak up and appropriately raise issues to team and to management.
    • Keeps both team members, departmental colleagues (as appropriate) and management fully apprised of project / initiative status and issues. 


  • Advanced degree (e.g., MS, MBA, PhD, PharmD) preferred
  • Experience in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industries strongly preferred, including significant discovery or product development experience/exposure
  • Project management certification (PMP) and/or formal coursework/training in project management strongly preferred
  • A track-record of accomplishment in a project management type role is preferred / highly desireable
  • Yes, 5-10% of the time

Your role at Merck is integral to helping the world meet new breakthroughs that affect generations to come, and we’re counting on your skills and inventiveness to help make meaningful contributions to global medical advancement. At Merck, we’re inventing for life. 


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Job: Product Dev Proj/Prog Mgmnt
Other Locations:
Employee Status: Regular
Travel: Yes, 10 % of the Time
Number of Openings: 1
Shift (if applicable):
Hazardous Materials:
Company Trade Name: Merck

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