Engineering project managers are often the unseen current keeping projects moving in a timely and efficient way. They are the force keeping teams of people motivated toward a common goal, making sure all project requirements are being met. As a company focused on exceptional client service, intelligent engineering, and the right expertise, we know quite well the essential role a talented project manager plays in the life of a project. 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. While each may have their own approach, there are a handful of essential skills necessary for ultimate success. Here are 10 essential skills for an engineering project manager:
1. Effective communicator. A highly valuable skill in most industries, effective communication can make or break a project. The best project managers are adept at various forms of communication, knowing the most effective means for their teams.
2. Good listener. Talented project managers understand that in addition to communicating well, they must also listen well. A key component of efficient engineering project management is being tuned-in to what’s going on with your team. Additionally, the project manager may be responsible for keeping client or consultant communications and expectations in check.
3. Applicable experience. The best project managers have had direct experience in the field. Not only does this help them grasp the workflow in a more tangible way, but it also helps them understand the potential problems more quickly. Additionally, depending on the engineering project, an experienced project manager will be better equipped for the unique challenges of the industry.
4. Intuition. As an intangible skill, intuition is hard to pinpoint. However, it is nonetheless an essential skill for an engineering project manager. Good intuition takes an incredible amount of knowledge and experience and is thus highly valuable.
5. Persistent. Project management is no walk in the park. One must be persistent and capable of confronting issues as they rise, if not before. Being able to push through tough times with the ultimate goal in mind is more than essential; it’s required.
6. Smart delegator. A project manager must know their team and understand each person’s capability. That being said, smart delegation is needed to optimize the team’s success.
7. Prioritizer. With so many moving parts, it can be easy to focus on the little things. Unfortunately, that can cause the big picture to fall apart. A good project manager understands this and is able to prioritize accordingly.
8. Problem-solver. Being a great problem-solver in engineering almost goes without saying. This stands true for an engineering project manager as well.
9. Able to know their team. It all comes down to knowing the team and understanding how they work together. A project manager must have the team management skills and perceptive abilities to keep their team purring like a well-oiled machine.
10. And the individuals on that team. The team aspect boils down to the individuals that make up the team. A good engineering project manager takes a little bit of time to get to know the individual.
No matter where you are at in your career, it’s important to continue growing and learning to improve. Completing an engineering project on time and within budget often comes down to project management. Keep up the good work!