Engineering project management is a specialty that has become recognized as a strategic organizational skill and a desirable career path. This has resulted in the development of a number of valuable training and educational programs. From start to finish, an engineering project manager must have a firm grasp on the complete project and the roles of the individuals involved. While every project is unique, there are a handful of essential skills an effective engineering project manager must have. Whether you’re looking to land a new management role or trying to brush up on keeping your skillset current, it’s important to know what’s required right now for engineering project managers — as well as for growth in the near future.
The best project managers have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, and know the most effective means for encouraging their team to be inspiring leaders. A critical component of communication is being tuned in to what’s going on with your team. Additionally, being able to communicate clearly between the team and a client or consultant is a skill of immeasurable value. Thus, listening and communicating are crucial components of effective engineering project management on both an intra- and inter-team level.
Engineering project managers are responsible for overseeing and managing a variety of activities within a project including production, operations, quality assurance, and testing. Smart delegating can optimize a team’s timeliness and success. Organization, attention to detail, and good delegating skills are critical competencies to the success of an engineering project manager. An engineering project manager should be aware of every individual team member’s skills. They should also know when and how much to delegate to each person. A successful delegator is skilled at prioritizing project steps as well. With so many moving parts, one can get caught up in the minutia of a project, but an effective engineering project manager will be able to make sure smaller details are taken care of while always keeping in mind the big picture.
Challenges will inevitably occur at some point for nearly every project so all engineers must be great problem solvers, especially an engineering project manager. This comes from a combination of intuition, learned knowledge, and experience. A project manager should be able to address problems head-on and develop actionable solutions. This is critical to ensuring that a project stays on track.
While the process of engineering can often seem cold and scientific, the reality of an engineering organization is just as human as any other. A manager that can’t relate to his or her team on an emotional level will struggle to build the camaraderie and trust necessary to cooperate and do good work. An effective project manager must know his or her team well as a cohesive unit, but also as individuals. This will make delegating, problem-solving, and communication all happen more seamlessly. Knowing each team member’s skills and personalities will help a manager mentor and motivate the team to success.
While it’s critical for a manager to have the emotional intelligence needed to coordinate the team effectively, he or she must also be a leader when it comes to technical skills. The very best engineering managers tend to be highly skilled engineers in their own right. This will not only inspire confidence and respect, but also equip the manager to be better able to make recommendations and to evaluate necessary trade-offs.
The goal is a high-performing engineering team. Effective engineering project managers use their expertise to plan, direct, and coordinate the development of new products, designs, processes or offerings. Their responsibilities often include leading the research and development stage of projects, creating detailed project plans, and proposing budgets, staffing and equipment needs. The breadth of tasks and talents required of an engineering project manager can seem daunting, but the right skills and understandings can help a project manager be extremely productive, efficient, and effective.
If you need an engineering project manager, consult with our team of engineering recruiters, we provide contingency fee based search throughout the USA. We have offices in Orange County, CA and Chicago, IL. We are passionate about all our projects and have done extensive placements for engineering project management roles in Los Angeles, Inland Empire, Orange County, and San Diego. If you are located anywhere in the USA, we are conducting virtual meetings and can assist with placements right across the country. Contact us HERE