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In this episode, I talk to Christian Knutson, CEng, P.E., PgMP, F. SAME, who has co-hosted this podcast in the past and now serves as the Europe Program Manager for Stanley Consultants. He is responsible for managing and coordinating Stanley Consultants’ activities in the U.K. and Europe as well as providing program/project management delivery and master planning solutions for clients in the U.K. and Europe. In this episode, which is part of a series we are publishing focused around the four key drivers of engineering managers, we talk about the third key driver: the ability to manage projects. Chris talks about the fundamentals of project management and how project management skills can help you to become a great engineering manager.
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Project Management Skills:
- The fundamental differences between project management and program management are:
- Project management is seen as a discreet activity that has a defined beginning and end. It is controlled by the project triangle: cost, scope and schedule, and sometimes quality.
- Program management is the delivery of several projects that are best managed to get benefits for the client and the end users.
- It is also looking at what we are trying to achieve by the delivery of these projects and other project-associated activities.
- When engineering organizations send their engineering professionals to project management training, it can be an information overload experience for a lot of the people.
- As a project manager, you need to be able to discern which aspect you are working for.
- Cost and schedule are the baselines for project management. You need to see what the work breakdown structure looks like because the projects are not only married to cost but also your schedule. This can then be used to make recommendations and help you to make smart decisions around things like scope management.
- Projects should have a scope that is well-defined and requirements that are well-known. This enables you to accurately build the work breakdown structure and help you keep your cost and schedule under control.
- You need to have good communication skills as a project manager. Ninety percent of your time will be committed to communicating via emails, meetings, and verbal communication.
- The work breakdown structure means breaking the project down into separate components, dissecting the work into discreet elements. The more discreet you dissect the elements, the greater the cost assurance you can get.
- The skills you need to communicate key fundamentals with your team are:
- You need to ensure that your team understands the performance work statement and dives into the fundamentals of it: the scope and what is the client looking for.
- The cost proposal needs to be communicated and your team needs to understand how the project cost was derived.
- Your team needs to know the schedule, the deliverables, and the milestones for delivering a certain percent of the design.
- You need to ask questions and not make assumptions.
More in This Episode…
About Christian Knutson, CEng, P.E., PgMP, F. SAME
Chris Knutson, CEng, P.E., PgMP, F.SAME, is a program manager/civil engineer with over 27 years of program and project management experience in the defense infrastructure sector. This includes deep experience in executing and delivering infrastructure programs as well as project planning, feasibility and requirements assessment, and controls in complex and international stakeholder environments. An expert communicator skilled at working with both government and private sector organizations, he has substantial international experience in Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S. Most recently, he was the Major Program Director for a $400 million defense infrastructure program in the U.K. and currently manages a diverse infrastructure planning and delivery portfolio for Stanley Consultants in the U.K. and Europe. He is a retired U.S. Air Force civil engineer officer, a Chartered Engineer in the U.K., and a Professional Engineer in the U.S. He holds both the Program and Project Management Certificates from Project Management International.
Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion. ~ Jack Welch
Resources and Links Mentioned in This Session Include:
COVID-19 Coronavirus News and Information Related to Engineering
Engineering Management Accelerator – People Skills Course (Online) | 5 PDHs
Project Management Accelerator PM Skills Course
Engineering Management Accelerator
Connect with Chris Knutson
Books Mentioned in This Episode:
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)–Sixth Edition
How can project management skills enhance your engineering career?
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you can share on how project management skills can or have contributed to your overall success as an engineer.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success