How To Manage A Large Scale Engineering Project
Whilst large scale engineering projects can take all manner of forms, there are some principals that apply to any project. In this article we look at the ways in which a project manager can be successful in their management of a project that has the all the demands of a usual project, on a massive scale.
Team building… not just a buzz term
A project manager, be they engineering or otherwise, is only as strong as his or her team. Whilst the term ‘team building’ invokes in some the horrors of ‘moral boosting’ away days, a strong bond between team members fosters communication that will benefit your project.
Continue to adapt
When dealing with a large scale engineering project management it is vital to bear in mind that there will inevitable be a need to adapt your plans or have a change in direction. Whilst for some this may cause dismay, particularly if the changes are due to new project constraints, keeping a clear and unemotional view of the project is vital.
You can avoid the frustration of project adaptation by always being mindful of the fact that changes will most probably be necessary.
With the aforementioned changes in project direction, constraints or end goal, there is a need to thoroughly document what changes have occurred and how these have deviated from the original plan. This is particularly important if the stakeholders are looking to hold you accountable for any budget that over runs or issues once the project is complete.
Throughout any engineering project, effective stakeholder communication is vital. Even with the most problematic of projects, issues can be rectitifed with continual communication and discussion with the Stakeholder.
More often than not, projects that finish with an end result that is different from the original plan are a problem because extensive details have not been relayed effectively enough
Regular project reviews
One of the ways that stakeholders can be kept continually informed is by undertaking regular project reviews whereby all parties are involved. This keeps communication lines open, and any issues that would otherwise arrive at a later point, can be discussed at that particular time.
Access to resources
The initial planning of a project should of course involve resource gathering, whether it be for suppliers, materials or human resources. However the strongest of all engineering projects holds thorough contiengency plans in the event of problems with their resources.
For example, if a particular engineering project uses the expert knowledge of a specialist, then it must be recognised that if this specialist becomes unavailable, then the project will need a replacement.
Proper planning of all resources will provide a streamlined process, and will avoid extensive delays in completing the project.
Whilst time management is a skill that most project managers know to be essential, few have optimum time management in their repertoire.
In today’s day and age, technology is largely unused to its full advantage in a projects manager’s quest for extra time. There are a wide range of tools out there for the savvy project manager; of particular interest should be tools that streamline the collaboration process.
Hazel Reynolds has become successful in managing large projects and has come up with some simple rules to follow. At home she continues to project manage her family through school terms and holidays.