Is it enough to be an engineer or even have practical experience in construction to manage an engineering or construction project?
Engineering project management is one of the most demanding jobs that require professionalism and high accuracy in its implementation.
Suppose you are the manager of an engineering project or even about to be. In that case, there are a set of skills and competencies that you need to master in order to navigate the project smoothly and establish a functional connection with multiple teams, so you have to learn those skills and know the stages that engineering projects go through so that you can work on managing them successfully.
What is engineering project management?
The management of building and construction or engineering projects is a comprehensive process that begins with the design of the project idea and ends with the completion of construction works on time and under the agreed budget. this includes studying the current situation, including cost control, procurement, and risk assessment, clearly defining project objectives, and choosing the implementation mechanism on the needs and resources of the project. the importance of applying this type of study is to reduce the occurrence of the opposite of what is expected.
Stages of engineering project management
The management of engineering projects goes through five basic stages, which are:-
- Planning and development
Planning is the key to successful management, whether general management or engineering projects management, it is the first and most important step to start with in any project, as stopping projects after starting them is very expensive and the more advanced they are, the more potential losses increase. therefore, good planning of the project by setting its goals and creating a roadmap for it, including feasibility studies, budget, analysis of the current situation, and putting the expected changes and challenges into account will eventually lead to its implementation in the required form and on time.
After the project planning comes to the design stage and where the maps and strategic and general plans move to the detailed ones that show the final shape of the project after approval we move on to the next stage, which is the pre-construction stage.
- Pre-construction phase
At that stage, an executive plan for the course of action is created, which explains to the project implementers what they need to do, how it is accomplished, and what resources and requirements they need to start implementation. This stage includes the identification and allocation of resources, the preparation of mini-budgets, the creation of schedules and deadlines, and the distribution of tasks so that there is a clear structure for everything that is done at each stage
- Building Supplies Management
This stage includes the preparation of procurement lists, building supplies, supply chains, and how the necessary materials and services will be transported to complete the project, therefore purchasing and supply chains managers must provide inputs at the planning stage to work on them, taking into account the fluctuations and changes that may occur in the markets and thus calculate the potential risk through use planning
After planning and designing the project and bringing the construction supplies, the project implementation is started on the ground, and everything that was planned in the previous stages will come true at that stage as it makes the construction process smoother and is completed successfully
Both monitoring and evaluation play an important role at that stage, as they take into account any adjustments that may occur to the project and how to adapt to them in light of the available resources
The skills you need to manage engineering projects
- Leadership: leadership is one of the most important basic skills that will help you manage the project, as it affects the work team directly, and therefore if you want to increase their productivity, you have to motivate them and follow the management approach that corresponds to their potential and abilities
- Analysis: Analysis provides a clear vision of what the project will reach through the available data and resources available at the moment, thus being able to predict potential problems and determine how they can be dealt with
- Communication: communication is one of the necessary skills for project management, as it ensures how to create of a way of communication between project managers and team members, thus making it easy to clarify the tasks required from them and give them the main guidelines to ensure that the project is on the right track
- Planning: you will find planning is always the first step when managing projects in general, not just engineering, as it enters into all stages, and therefore a skill like it must be had to project managers, as it facilitates them to put project activities within the planned time frame, put an end to costs to ensure that they do not exceed the expected budget, and work on continuous
Challenges of engineering project management
The project manager faces many challenges, the most important of which are :
- Resource management comes at the forefront of the challenges that may face Project Management, as project managers are looking for different ways to increase productivity and efficiency at the lowest possible cost while planning the project at its various stages Therefore, it is necessary to use multi-skilled personnel while working on the development of specific systems for the optimal allocation of resources
- Communication the task of communication between project managers and the team remains one of the most important challenges that may face in the organization and management of the project, therefore, it is necessary to work on continuous communication with the project workers and keep them fully and continuously aware of everything new to ensure increased productivity and delivery of results on time and at the expected cost
- The changes that occur in projects are among the most important challenges facing projects, whether they are internal, such as changing the objectives of the project or a large number of adjustments without taking a particular approach for planning, or external, such as political or economic events in the country, and although change is inevitable in the management of any project, if the risks are not taken
in the end, it turns out that the management of construction projects requires the exploitation of available resources through accurate administrative processes to achieve the desired results, so if you are about to be a manager of an engineering project, you should choose the appropriate approach to your project to help you achieve the benefits of effective project management such as enhancing efficiency, improving forecasting, reducing costs, concentrating information, mitigating risks, and facilitating the communication process… And so on to finally reach an integrated project on time, at the required cost and quality