It is important to identify any limitations of your current system but also understand what it does well. Increased productivity, through faster release of test results, automation of management reports, and higher sample throughput are all common goals used to justify a LIMS and focus management attention. However, don’t forget to think creatively about how LIMS can help your organization. Can you streamline instrument management by having an integrated calibration and maintenance system as part of the LIMS, or can you automatically check an analyst’s competency to carry out a procedure using a built-in competency management module. The outcome of gathering such requirements should be a User Requirements document. This can define the minimum viable product for the LIMS i.e., what the system must do, along with requirements that could bring additional or unexpected benefits.
Ensure the project team includes relevant input from all stakeholders. These may include laboratory users, QA representatives, the customers of the laboratory services, IT staff and others. Senior management must also be included to sponsor and champion the project. At this stage you’ll also need an idea of your budget and an outline approval to move ahead with the project; buy in from the management sponsor is key to this.