5 Key Insights into the Role of Project Management in Engineering

Engineering projects involve many moving parts with large teams of consultants and stakeholders. This complexity requires robust project management in order to ensure a high level of excellence is reached on time, and within budget. It’s not as easy to achieve as it sounds and requires a rounded set of skills. We chatted to Lithon’s Hannes van Schalkwyk who is both a civil engineer and a certified project manager, to discover these 5 insights about the role of project management in engineering.


1. Great Engineering Project Managers don’t need to be Engineers

A great project manager brings a diverse skill set to the table including leadership, effective communication, and conflict resolution, to name a few. While many of Lithon’s projects are managed by engineers, it’s not necessary for an engineering project manager to be an expert in engineering itself. Many engineers fall into project management simply because their job requires it, and they might find themselves initially lacking the necessary soft skills. Thankfully, these can be learned. However, introducing an experienced project manager to run the project helps everyone (including the engineers) focus on doing what they do best.


2. Become a Communication Maestro

According to Hannes, a whopping 80% of a project manager’s time is spent communicating with consultants and stakeholders. It’s therefore essential that project managers are excellent communicators – both in listening and speaking. They need to have an understanding of the bigger picture at all times. This means constantly keeping up-to-date with progress, collecting information, and ensuring that every stakeholder is kept in the loop on important developments.


3. Be a Solution Thinker 

As a project manager, it’s just a matter of time before you are faced with a challenge that requires you to put on your thinking cap and come up with a solution. Yes, preempting potential issues is important, but the true magic lies in a project manager’s ability to whip up effective solutions at breakneck speed! Good project managers are proactive and forward-thinking. They identify potential problems before they become problems and are equipped to react swiftly, whatever the prevailing circumstances.


4. Systems and Workflows are Key 

When it comes to large-scale projects, having robust systems in place to manage the many moving parts is not just important – it’s a downright necessity! Systems can include contracts, workflows, communication protocols, quality control checklists, and more. Lithon recently achieved ISO 9001:2005 certification which means we have the quality management systems in place, to provide high-calibre project management for all of our clients. 


5. Good Project Management means Repeat Business

Effective project management is revealed throughout each project milestone and the ability to respond quickly to challenges. However, where it’s truly revealed is in the excellence of the end result. Project managers manage time, money, people, and quality control with a deficit in any of these areas, leading to a lower-quality or unsatisfactory outcome. For clients, a well-managed project will be a smooth and enjoyable experience that brings them back again and again. This doesn’t mean that the project is without challenges – just that the challenges are handled swiftly and effectively. 


Need our Help?

At Lithon, we prioritise both project delivery excellence and engineering excellence. Connect with our team of engineers and project managers today by emailing us at info@lithon.com.