This is a guest post by Githal Pathirana
Managing projects in any industry is a challenge. Project managers must have the ability to listen thoroughly, think quickly, and delegate properly, all while
tracking results and making necessary adjustments. To say it requires a level-headed person capable of organized multi-tasking is an understatement. A project manager in the engineering industry has the extra challenges of dealing with creative minds that tend to wander as well as those who aren’t necessarily creative, the minds that can get specific jobs done on time but don’t always think outside the box. A successful project manager in the engineering industry will tell you there are five requirements for success in the field. This are especially important to understand and start to implement for those of you currently experiencing a design engineer to manager transition.
Without a solid plan, nothing gets started, much less done. Determine the overall goal, and then break that goal down into parts. Study and research each element, including cost, of each part of the plan. After all, the ultimate goal is a plan that will lead to a finished project on time and within budget. List materials needed and look into what skilled expertise will be required for each step in the process, again including cost, from A to Z.
After laying out a plan, a good project manager will set that plan on a schedule. Of course, most projects take longer than expected due to an incredible number of issues, but a project manager who understands the parts of the plan will be able to craft a reasonable schedule that shouldn’t leave the project running too absurdly late. A project manager constantly unable to meet reasonable goals won’t be a project manager very long.
COMMUNICATE AND DELEGATE
A project manager has a team of people to manage and knows good management starts with solid communication skills, including listening. Communicate the plan and schedule clearly to all team members. Asking for and listening to feedback is an effective way of determining a schedule’s viability. If a team member with expertise in a particular area explains the schedule will be off from day one due to unavailable materials or difficulty working with certain materials, listen. Double check the information. Ask questions, determine how to proceed, and adjust the plan and schedule accordingly.
All well-respected project managers know how to delegate. Obviously, a project manager has certain tasks to fulfill, but knowing how, where, and when to delegate is a sign of a manager with full confidence in the team overall. These managers usually have teams willing and able to work hard to pull off fantastic feats of engineering on time and on budget.
During each step of the project, it’s going to be vitally important to know what’s going on with the various entities. Keep open lines of communication requesting daily status reports from department managers from purchasing, receiving, tool and die, design, etc. A successful project manager will check status regularly and never simply assume things are humming along according to plan and schedule.
Just as department heads report to the project manager, the project manager has directors to answer to. Set a regular schedule for reporting the status of the project to all directors involved. Often the simple act of communicating reports keeps office tensions down and makes the project run more smoothly overall. A confident project manager isn’t afraid to report problems when they arise, but is smart enough to include a solution in progress with that report.
Reporting to team leaders is also necessary. Making sure team leaders are in communication with each other as well as the project manager creates an atmosphere of cooperation vital to the success of any engineering project.
Overall, there are many rewards to the difficult job of project management. Even when a failure occurs—and it will from time to time—a reasonable person will learn from the experience and move forward. Achievements celebrated are often attributed to the one that managed the project from beginning to end. Trending success in project management can set your career on a solid path of growth, recognition, and job stability.
Bio: Githal Pathirana is part of the Furmanite Australia team, who are worldwide innovators and leaders in comprehensive on-site and online plant and pipeline maintenance. Learn more about Furmanite Australia Services ahttp://www.furmanite.com.au.
Find them on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/company/furmanite-worldwide.