What is Engineering Project Management?
18 Aug, 2022
Engineering project management involves guiding an engineering project from inception through delivery by applying relevant skills and knowledge to ensure the project is delivered on time, within the budget, and meets the desired specifications. Every major engineering project should have a project manager to guide the rest of the team on what they are supposed to do to achieve the project’s desired goals.
At times, adjustments might have to be made during the project, so the project manager’s role is to guide the team on how these changes can be implemented without significantly affecting the project timeline and budget. In the following sections of this article, we will provide more details on the tasks and processes involved in engineering project management and the tools you need to implement them.
Tasks within Engineering Project Management
These are some of the everyday tasks that most engineering projects involve.
Preparing proposals and reports
One of the major roles of a project manager is to prepare proposals to be presented to the clients or the overall supervisors of the project. These proposals usually include the procedures and deliverables of the project. The proposal should also include all the resources required to accomplish the project.
The project manager is also supposed to prepare periodic reports indicating the details of the progress of the project in comparison to the plan. There should also be some element of accountability in the report, showing how the resources allocated to do the project were used.
Ensuring adherence to guidelines
There are many risks involved while implementing any engineering project. That is why the project manager needs to ensure everyone on the team adheres to the standard guidelines. These guidelines should be clearly and frequently communicated to everyone in the language they understand best.
Creating and tracking actions
The project manager is also typically tasked with ensuring the action items for the team members are tracked and completed. This includes keeping track of deadlines, assigned work, completed work, and any other relevant details. All this information should be available in the project management software for easy reference. Everyone on the project needs to have something to do toward achieving the project’s goals. It is the role of the project manager and team leaders to delegate work to their different team members. Managing these actions can be done with the project management software AIM module. If there are any delays, the project manager needs to determine the cause and what can be done to ensure the project is back on track.
Communicating with clients and stakeholders
Internal and external communication is a critical part of engineering project management. The project manager should ensure all the stakeholders are kept up-to-date on the progress of the project. This includes clients, supervisors, team members, and anyone else with a vested interest in the project. External communication usually happens through periodic reports while internal communication can happen through regular meetings and emails. The ECLIPSE Software Suite makes communicating documents, actions, risks and other data items easy and user-friendly.
Make changes to the plans
There will always be unforeseen circumstances that will require changes to the project plans. It is the responsibility of the project manager to make these changes work. Change requests can come from clients, team members, or even the project manager themselves. All changes need to be approved by the relevant stakeholders before they can be implemented.
A non-conformance is anything that does not meet the requirements of the project. It can be a material, a process, or anything else. Non-conformances need to be identified and rectified as soon as possible. The project manager needs to ensure all non-conformances are managed in line with the procedures set out at the beginning of the project.
Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, and controlling risks. Risks can come from anywhere and can have a negative impact on the project. Project manager needs to ensure all risks are identified and assessed, they can do this by using a Risk Management Toolkit. It is important that once the risks have been identified, the project manager puts in place controls to mitigate them. eRISK is a module of the ECLIPSE Software Suite that will help you store the risks and risk assessments in a centralized location and share them with the project team.
Document management is creating, storing, reviewing, and controlling project documents. All project documents need to be stored in a central location where they can be easily accessed by everyone on the team. The project manager needs to ensure all documents are up-to-date and comply with the project’s requirements. DCCM is a document management system module of the ECLIPSE Software Suite that can facilitate the management of documents.
Closing the project
Once the project is completed, the project manager can close it out. This includes ensuring all the deliverables have been met, all the stakeholders are satisfied, and all parties have been paid. Next, the project manager can write a final report detailing the lessons learned from the project.
Project management in engineering is a complex process. There are many moving parts, and it is easy to lose track of what needs to be done. The project manager needs to have a good understanding of all the different aspects of project management. They may need to use project management software to its full potential. By doing this, they can ensure the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required standard.
Tools and techniques used in Engineering Project Management
There are several techniques that you can use to accomplish any given engineering project. The three common techniques used include the classic technique, waterfall, and agile project management.
- Classic technique: This is the simplest and one of the oldest techniques used to execute projects. This technique involves identifying the tasks required to accomplish the project, determining the order of execution, and allocating resources based on the task’s priority.
- Waterfall technique: This is the type of project management technique where the different project tasks are scheduled in ascending order. With this technique, the next job is only performed well when the previous job has been completed. This technique is best for projects whose tasks are heavily interdependent.
- Agile technique: This project management technique involves breaking down a big project into smaller sprints that can be deeply analyzed and planned before execution. The agile project management technique is ideal for projects that may require adopting new changes as the project takes shape.
Besides these three techniques above, some other project management techniques you can use include Rational Unified Process (RUP), Program Evaluation and Review Technique, Critical Path Technique, Critical Chain Technique, and Extreme Project Management (XPM). You can choose from any of these techniques based on the kind of project you intend to implement.
Tips for Engineering Project Managers
- Set clear and measurable goals: Everyone on the team needs to understand the goals of your project and what they need to do to achieve them. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART).
- Choose the right project management technique and tools: As an engineering project manager, it is important to assess the pros and cons of each technique and then choose one that is most ideal for the kind of project you are working on. With so many tools to choose from, take time to assess the most popular project management platforms to determine which one fits well within your current ecosystem.
- Manage expectations: When handling a project, you need to manage the expectations of your team and project owners. This requires timely and effective communication of the project plan and any changes that you may have to make along the way.
- Delegate resources carefully: Your project doesn’t have infinite resources, so it is essential to delegate them appropriately. Resources involve money, tools, and the people required to execute the different tasks of a given project.
- Avoid micromanaging: As a project manager, it is important to clearly communicate to your team the goals of the project and what everyone has to do to achieve these goals. However, it is best to avoid interfering with how each team does its work. It is the role of team leaders to come up with the process of executing specific tasks and to ensure they meet the project requirements.
- Be supportive: Engineering projects usually involve complex processes, so your team members will often need your support and motivation. Support can be through availing the resources your team needs in time and having regular meetings where everyone can share their challenges and ideas. You may even consider having one on one conversations with some specific individuals.
Optimise Project Control with the ECLIPSE Suite
The ECLIPSE Software Suite can help you optimise the control of your engineering project. It provides a central location for storing project documents and managing risks. The software also includes a range of other tools for project management. Learn more about ECLIPSE and how you can optimise your engineering project management by contacting our team.
Get control over action items with the AIM Module
Manage your custom change request process within the DAB module.
Manage your document reviews within the DCCM Module.
Manage the full non-conformance process with the eNCTS Module.