Engineering: Project management skills and the ways to acquire them
Project management is essentially directing a team to accomplish the milestones and follow up with the team’s performance for the given project in the given time frame. For engineers, project management could include purchasing resources needed, cost management, and scheduling, etc. Engineering is a complex and ever-evolving industry, and new functional aspects are continuously being added to the process. From the drawing board to the final light switch, an engineering project manager must have a firm grasp on the complete project and the people involved.
As AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things), and IT/OT, in particular, become more prevalent in the engineering process, project management skills will become more significant in an engineer’s role. An engineer’s project management skills include leadership, organization and effective communication.
The first step into improving the project management skills would be experience application. The best project managers have had direct experience in the field helping them to grasp the workflow more tangibly, but it also helps them understand the potential problems more quickly. An experienced project manager will be better equipped for the unique challenges of the industry depending on the engineering project.
The second step is effective communication. To be successful with a project, communication is probably the most crucial skill-set an Engineering Project Manager should have. For Engineering projects, communication skills start with a solid foundational knowledge of the technological field with the project. Communication in engineering project management involves a large number of different types of project participants, each with a different set of requirements at any given time.
The third step is improving leadership skills. Every project involves a team. The team dynamics fluctuate to meet the demands of the goals set in the initial scope of work and the associated variations in the scope that naturally occur throughout the project. The Project Manager, as a part of their leadership role, is responsible for defining the scope, establishing tasks and goals, and assigning responsibility based on team member capabilities.
The next one is problem-solving. Being a great problem solver is very essential as no projects will go as planned, there tends to be a lot of problems and miscommunication arising in between the projects. The project manager has to be a very quick problem solver and his problem-solving skills will depend upon his field experience and working with others.
Being intuitive and persistent will add to the characteristics of a good project manager who will be able to prioritize and smartly delegate the work to the right people at the right time to ensure the project is completed effectively and efficiently at the given time.