Benefits of excellent engineering management skills

Krystal K. Lindahl
A group of people standing on a construction site

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As an engineer, you are hired for your technical skills. However, you will need more than your technical knowledge to make it in the industry. You need skills like communication and critical thinking so that you can collaborate with the rest of the team at work. Most importantly, you must demonstrate strong management skills, especially when handling complex projects. This article explains how these management skills come in handy when overseeing projects from start to finish. 

Improved efficiency

The efficiency of any engineering project is just as important as its quality. If you are managing a mega project, it will comprise several complex parts which, if not coordinated properly, can all come crumbling down. Therefore, it takes someone with excellent management skills to ensure that every team member is doing what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it. That way, there are no unnecessary delays between processes. 

As the manager, it’s your job to scratch beneath the surface. You have to ensure that every team member is well-trained and up-to-date on the latest technologies relevant to the projects at hand. You also have to ensure that you understand the needs of your clients to ensure that the deliverables are in alignment. 

Establishment of a standard operating language

We started by mentioning how crucial communication skills are in the workplace. But that entails more than just writing good reports and using culturally inclusive language. It is also about being able to put ideas across to stakeholders using a language that even people without a technical background can understand. Excellent management skills put you in a position where you can establish a common operating language. You can also review past projects and see how you can learn from mistakes or borrow techniques that worked. 

Value for the organization and clients

A successful project is one which is executed on schedule, remains within scope and budget, and delivers value to the customer. It is easy for things to slip through the cracks in complex projects when there is no good stewardship. However, when you are equipped with management skills, you can ensure that the project meets the success criteria. For instance, you can verify that there are enough people for the workload to ensure the project is executed on schedule. You can also track expenses to ensure the project is within budget. If there is a need to adjust the schedule or budget, or if the objectives change, you can act as the running point. By so doing, you deliver value both to the organization and the clients. 

A path to the top

Strong management skills will set you apart from other engineers. That gives you leverage to apply for leadership roles on your team and organization, which could mean better pay and benefits. 

Building management skills as an engineer

Perhaps you have had a taste of engineering management and realized it’s something you want to pursue further. Below are some tips on how you can turn that dream into reality. 

Sharpen your business acumen

Becoming an engineering manager means working cross-functionally. You need the best of both worlds – the technical side and the business side. To do this, start by familiarizing yourself with other departments, like customer success and marketing. It would also be a brilliant idea to enroll in an engineering management program at a reputable institution like Kettering University. This customizable online program teaches valuable lessons like making an impact right away and solving complex problems in leadership. 

Don’t neglect your technical skills

Even as you hone your business skills, remember you are still an engineer at heart. You can only be a good steward if you have a good mastery of your trade. Therefore, ensure that you keep tabs on the latest industry trends such as artificial intelligence and machine learning

Improve your communication skills

It would help if you were a strong communicator in any managerial role. You can improve your communication by checking up on resources online. For instance, you can learn how to give criticism sensitively. You might also need to learn other skills like public speaking and report writing. 

On the same note, a good manager is a good listener. Therefore, you must learn how to listen to your team members and stakeholders actively. 

Pay attention to detail

Even the tiniest detail has the potential to ruin an otherwise perfect project. As an engineering manager, you will oversee delivery. Therefore, you need a sharp eye to pick up what others may miss.

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