Monday, May 2, 2011

Project Management Skills

In many ways, the lists are similar from being a TD to being a PM. Since I am a management focused TD (as opposed to a master carpenter style TD), my views are skewed accordingly…

The largest differences I see is that dealing with clients is different (in some ways) than dealing with designers (or internal clients, as a PM text would say), and the need to write a proposal or scope of work that clearly defines what you are providing to your client and for what price.

In terms of technical skill there are some differences. I have always believed that the TD, by nature of their responsibilities and skills, is a management position, and therefore should understand all of the technical areas, needs, safety requirements, and so forth (and have the appropriate certifications), but they aren’t & shouldn’t be the best welder in the shop. You can’t spend 40 hours a week on a diversified set of job tasks and be better than someone who spends 40 hours a week welding. In project management, I feel like this is the same, but even more so – the department heads, have been doing their jobs longer than I have, and have very specific skills. I have a generalists knowledge – I have to rely on, trust, negotiate and motivate them to seek out the most efficient processes, and to innovate as needed.

Otherwise, there are the typical skills: drafting, drawing, communication (verbal, written, illustrative), problem solving, time management, stress management, budgetary, computer literacy, adaptability, flexibility and versatility.

Also, there are management skills: conflict resolution, negotiation, planning, human resources, legal issues (fair employment, sexual harassment, osha requirements, life safety codes), organization, and so forth.

Finally, there are leadership skills: being able to see details, yet see the large picture. Being able to forecast what’s coming and prepare. Manage change. Motivation of those around you. Create a culture of trust, respect, innovation, planned risk, and celebrate success. Provide an organizational structure that works, a humane place to work, meaning in the work place, and navigate office politics.

Of course the above is my opinions, and abbreviated at that. Many books are written about much of what I have stated above. What are your thoughts?

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