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Topic Title: Technical Project Management
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Created On: 24 November 2010 02:44 PM
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 24 November 2010 02:44 PM
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gillianlambert

Posts: 5
Joined: 29 November 2002

I work for a large engineering company, undertaking systems integration, software, hardware and FPGAdevelopment, as a Project Manager, although I trained and started work as a Development Engineer, before crossing "to the dark side". Project Management is now one of the career paths our Business Graduates (i.e. without a technical background) can choose and we also recruit PMs from a range of industries and are now struggling with a skills gap because our Project Managers tend not to have sufficient technical understanding.

I've been asked for any recommendations on training programmes or technical accreditations which we could propose for some of these PMs with non-technical backgrounds, to provide them with a sufficient technical skills.

I confess that I'm a little baffled as most of the training I've found seems to work the other way - for engineers to become managers, not to give managers a technical grounding. Does anyone have any experience of such training or can they suggest possible avenues to consider?

Your suggestions will be much appreciated.
 25 November 2010 12:47 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

You have my deepest sympathies, although it is encouraging to note that your company has identified this as an issue.

I think the risk here is that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing in a project manager's hands. It is not unusual for project managers with a small amount of technical knowledge to make engineering decisions without understanding the full implications. Given that, my felling is that the training needs to be 'top down', staring with training in engineering management and R&D management and working down to technical detail - in other words the exactly opposite sequence to the way that engineers are trained. That way the issues of risk and change management are hopefully made clear at the outset.

That said, I agree that most engineering management courses around are focussing on detailed project or maybe personnel management rather than management of the engineering process which would be of more value here, if anyone else can suggest one I might go on it myself!

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 30 November 2010 08:14 PM
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virnik

Posts: 24
Joined: 06 April 2009

One option, is you could change the project management to an agile style of development,
Instead of project managers they could become Scrum Masters, this way the technical side gets left to the guys that know what they are doing.
Part training business graduates to manage technical projects is a recipe for loosing engineers.
 10 December 2010 01:28 PM
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gillianlambert

Posts: 5
Joined: 29 November 2002

How do you do that?
 10 December 2010 01:48 PM
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gillianlambert

Posts: 5
Joined: 29 November 2002

Alan Gordon

I have now enabled PM. I have not yet solved the problem.
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