Understand Engineering Management vs. Project Management to Make Better Decisions
Blog: Monday Project Management Blog
Effective project management helps businesses mitigate risks, reduce costs, and improve their success rates. For firms that employ engineers, good engineering management is also critical for success. Project management and engineering management sound similar, so it’s only natural to wonder if they mean the same thing.
In this article, we’ll explain project management vs. engineering management to increase your understanding of how you can use both to make better decisions. We’ll also share some project management templates that work on monday.com to help you get your next project up and running quickly.
A recap on project management
Project management involves using a set of tools, techniques, skills, and knowledge to produce something of value. A project is different from a regular operating activity because it has a clearly defined scope, a start date, an end date, and a dedicated set of resources. Project managers are responsible for managing resources effectively, which ensures that each project ends on time and doesn’t exceed its budget.
The triple constraint
The triple constraint, commonly called the project management triangle, includes time, cost, and scope. Time refers to how much time a team has to complete a project. Cost is the amount of money budgeted for the project. Scope is what must occur for the project to be considered complete.
Every project has three major constraints: time, cost, and scope.
In most cases, a change in one constraint results in changes in another constraint. For example, if your team members must finish a project faster than expected, the budget may increase to account for the overtime needed to meet the new deadline. If the project scope expands, you may need more time to complete it. Project managers are in charge of achieving as much balance as possible among the three constraints.
Project management skills
Whether you’re looking to hire a project manager or become a project manager yourself, it’s important to know which project management skills are the most important. According to Ramapo College of New Jersey, a project manager should have a mix of technical skills and soft skills. Technical expertise makes it easier to use online scheduling tools and other high-tech solutions for project management, while soft skills are necessary for collaborating with members of the project team.
Successful project managers are skilled at communicating with others, negotiating, resolving conflict, solving problems, and assessing project aspects to determine if additional resources are needed. Now that you know the basics of project management, we’ll explain what engineering management is and why it’s different.
What is engineering management? How does it differ?
Engineering management bridges the gap between business and engineering. Like project managers, engineering managers must be skilled at assessing project requirements and overseeing risk management activities. However, the main difference between engineering and project management is that engineering managers focus on managing people. In contrast, project managers are in charge of managing tasks.
To better understand the difference between engineering managers vs. project managers, think about how operating activities differ from projects. As we mentioned earlier, a project has a defined scope, a dedicated set of resources, a start date, and an end date. Operating activities don’t have start and end dates; instead, they occur on an ongoing basis. Engineering management involves coordinating technical activities, setting a vision for the team, delegating responsibilities to team members, and making judgment calls that affect company operations.
Engineering management vs. project management
Even though the roles are different, project managers and engineering managers share some of the same skills. Project managers use their communication skills to ensure tasks are completed on time and within the scope and budget set at the beginning of each project, while engineering managers use their communication skills to ensure team members understand their priorities.
Both roles also require excellent organizational skills and the ability to use technology to increase efficiency and reduce costs. As an engineer, you may need to manage projects in addition to your other duties. If so, monday.com’s Work OS software can help you be more effective with some of its most helpful features listed below.
monday.com’s engineering management software
If you’re responsible for managing engineering projects, it’s important to develop detailed project plans before you start delegating tasks. Once the project planning process is complete, you need to track the project to prevent scope creep, manage costs, and stay on schedule. monday.com’s Work OS software includes project management tools that make it easy to delegate tasks, keep an eye on deadlines, and determine if you need to update the project plan.
Color-coded status messages make it easier to determine if team members are on track to complete their assigned tasks. With a quick glance, you’ll be able to tell which tasks are on track and which ones may need more resources to finish on time. You can also sort tasks by priority, making it easier to follow up on items with approaching deadlines.
Work OS allows you to assign tasks to other users, giving you insight into which team members have the capacity to take on additional work and which ones may need additional resources. If you have multiple engineering projects to manage, you can also create a separate board for each one, making it easier for team members to focus on their assignments. To help you save time, monday.com has several templates available specifically for project management.
A successful engineering project starts with careful planning. Once you have a plan in place, project management templates can help you track each constraint.
Project management plan template
The monday.com Project Management Plan Template has sections for each major phase of a project, including initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closing. You can also add custom groups to track phases specific to your project or organization. Timeline labels make it easy to see when each task is supposed to start and end, giving you extra support as you work to make sure the project finishes on time.
Single project template
If you’re managing a project that will end with a new product or service launch, our Single Project Template can help you track planning, execution, and launch tasks. The template provides a clear visual of what tasks you have assigned, when those tasks are due, and how many days you expect each task to take. It also shows the relationships between tasks, enabling you to determine if you need to dedicate additional resources to make sure one task doesn’t run late and affect subsequent tasks.
Is project management only for engineers?
Project management isn’t just for engineers. Any company that deals with projects can benefit from having a project manager on staff. Additionally, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification doesn’t require experience in engineering. To qualify, you need a four-year degree in any discipline, at least 36 months of experience leading projects, and at least 35 hours of project management training.
Are engineers good project managers?
A skilled engineer doesn’t necessarily excel at project management. George N. Andrew, a systems engineer at NASA, explains that some engineers are so detail-oriented that it’s difficult to see the big picture when managing projects. The good news is that many engineers can become effective project managers with training in leadership and collaboration.
Do project managers make more than engineers?
The average salary of a project manager vs. an engineer depends on many factors, including years of experience, professional certifications, job title, location, and technical expertise. As of May 2021, project management specialists at the 50th percentile had a median annual wage of $94,500, while engineers at the 50th percentile had a median annual wage of $100,640.
Track tasks and team members with monday.com’s project management software
Skilled project managers can increase productivity, improve team morale, and make their companies more profitable. That’s why companies of all sizes can benefit from software to make their project managers even more effective.
Managing engineering projects is no easy feat, but keeping track of every task and deadline is possible with monday.com’s project management software. We also offer customizable templates, making the software even more flexible for your team.
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