Skills and Demands of the Role
The beginnings of any project come from an idea. An idea that, if not already, needs thorough research, before you can even begin planning on how to implement it. The research may only need to be small, but it needs to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed project and the project manager needs to lead this process.
Part of undertaking any project will require thorough risk assessments. This is something any engineering project manager needs to have experience with, particularly as it can involve legalities when it comes to rules and regulations.
Should one or more aspects of a project fall down, a project manager needs to ensure they have an alternative back-up plan. The plan should be ready to go rather than a response to an issue. A successful project manager is always proactive rather than reactive.
Detailed plans and designs
A project manager may be involved in the drawings and specifications of a design or at the very least, needs to manage the team who is responsible and be in agreement with the plans drawn out. This cannot be done if the project manager does not have fundamental knowledge of the engineering involved in the project.
Any project in any industry needs to take into account budget and cost implications for effective financial planning. A project manager may have experience with certain software that can assist them in the financial planning of the project such as XERO or SAGE.
Staffing and equipment needs
An understanding of the skills and expertise of staff ensures that a project manager allocates the most appropriate people to a task. This could also apply to allocation of machinery, software or any equipment that could be used, to ensure maximum productivity and performance.
Point of contact
A project manager is the go-to contact for any aspect of any task. For complex projects this can involve liaising with a large number of staff amongst many different teams, communicating effectively between them and negotiating when necessary.
Knowledge of appropriate software
There is a huge range of innovative software designed to support project managers in every aspect of their project. Some may be more general and appropriate for a range of industries, whilst others are more specific. If you’re looking at applying for a new role, make sure you read the spec carefully as knowledge of a particular software is likely to be listed in the person spec if it is a requirement.
Time management and organisation
Managing a project, large or small, requires you to juggle many different skills and often all at once. Time management and organisation skills do not need to be good; they need to be exceptional.
Ultimately, a project manager is a leader. Whilst you may have knowledge of engineering or software, good time management and exceptional organisation skills, you cannot successfully project manage if you do not know how to lead. This means being the decision maker, being resilient to set backs, being proactive not reactive, being able to motivate a team and at all times lead by example.