Project management skills are highly prized in any organization. Engineers who can develop new plans for critical corporation products, services, internal process improvements and special needs technologies; and then coalesce, manage and lead others to make these things happen, are never going to fear unemployment. And they are going to have a great time working on interesting, innovative, and sometimes groundbreaking, projects. Project management is probably the most important function young engineers can learn, (and experienced engineers should continuously develop), along with an ability to articulate the value of what they, and their teams, are doing.
Project Management offers readers a framework for project management basics. This eBook provides an ideal starting point for engineering professionals who want to learn the basics about this vital, career-building competency. In clear-cut, direct language, author and IEEE Senior Member Harry T. Roman explains the concept of project management, offers steps to build a successful team, and warns how not to run a project team. He also provides historical background on the history of project management, including some interesting ties to technological icon, Thomas Edison. Roman spent most of his long career directing and consulting on more than $100 million worth of projects and programs in Research & Development at Public Service Electric & Gas Company (PSE&G) in New Jersey.
In what is perhaps the most valuable chapter in the eBook, Roman details what he believes are the steps to a successful project team. It starts with identifying and selling the problem that the project team will address. The author warns these tasks sound easy enough, but are full of potential pitfalls. He encourages readers to make sure the recommended project meets these five criteria: The problem should be one the company wants to solve; it must have value to senior management; it must offer tangible benefits; the solution is achievable within a reasonable timeframe; and it is compatible with the company’s investment philosophy.
Roman emphasizes that selecting the right team members is critical to any successful project management team. Each person must be a high-value participant, one willing commit to the team’s goals. He offers that corporate departments that support your work will likely offer some team members—definitely a plus—as it solidifies project support and focus.
The author cautions that team members should be able to address the project’s “soft” and “hard” aspects—both individually and collectively. “Soft” facets include environmental impacts, sociological considerations, legal impacts and, if the product or service will be offered worldwide, any cultural issues. “Hard” attributes include technical and economic requirements.
Another trait of being a successful project manager is to ensure each team member gets behind the project. Roman advises explaining the project’s value to team members in detail, emphasizing how it is important to the company.
According to Roman, project management is a profound leadership function. When properly combined with management skills, it can help to make you a complete manager—that rare individual who brings real value to an organization.
From 1 January through 15 February 2018, you can get your free eBook download, by going to: https://ieeeusa.org/shop/careers/ebook-project-management/.
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Georgia C. Stelluto is IEEE-USA Publishing Manager; Manager/Editor of IEEE-USA E-BOOKS; and Department Editor of InFocus for IEEE-USA InSight.