Skills/Training required to be a project manager

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My background is as follows: -

Apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering
BEng in Mechanical Engineering with Business Management
PhD in Mechattronic design in orthopaedic medicine
One and half years experience in overseeing the development of an injection moulded disposable medical device for use in the human eye.

I coordinated the entire project for the disposable medical devise, but have no training in project management. Consequently I am concerned that my skills are not sufficient to be a project manager.

Please can anyone advise me as to what skills and training are required before an Engineer can advertise as a project manager.


Follow up on the assignments and delegation given to subordinates. Don’t wait for the work to be due and then discover that they misunderstood the basic direction or were having trouble with the assignment.

Talk to them and follow up not only right after the assignment is given or just before it is due but during the process, keep your people on track.

The trick to managing technical people is to get them to stop playing with their design and getting it out the door. Most engineers will, if allowed, optimize their designs to the nth degree. Have something else shiny and interesting to get them to finish with one stage and to get started on the next.

The balancing wire act is to keep on top if what they are doing without suffocating them. Different people will tolerate different amounts of supervision so get to know your people and manage them with the least amount of supervision that is effective.

Don’t worry about the"project management skills". Learn as much as you can about the process, not just design, but production. Go to the floor see it done and meet the guys that do it. Not just once, but a lot, until you understand it. Talk to the shop foremen and plant mangers. Go visit the client. See it being used. Talk to the professionals who are ordering it. Everyone will tell you that you don’t have time for that or that other people do that. They are wrong. If you don’t understand the product and the process, you will never truly manage it.

You may also consider looking into a PMP Certification (Project Management Professional) - it’s fairly well recognized. They have their own “flavor” of project management, but it can be generally be tailored to your own style and needs.

Having recently worked for many different projects in a row, I want to stress the previous advice of “learning the process”. I found that the project managers that made sure they understood what needed to happen and how it was likely to happen before making commitments and schedules could get people to stop adding new scope preemptively, connect the different disciples well throughout the project, and had fewer bad days on their end. It also prompts goodwill and extra effort from the team members when they see that the PM did their homework.

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Agreed! Over the years I’ve seen too many project types ruin the process for sake of $ or schedule. Makes my blood boil when they don’t communicate with the project team.