Expert Manufacturing Advice tailored for step-by-step implementation in the workplace. Small Manufacturers, Machine Shops and CAD Engineers improve and thrive with our hands-on help. Engineering Project Management Procedures & Processes: Make them scalable and tailor them to your needs Essential Leadership and Management for Engineers
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At this stage it’s worth saying a few words about Processes and Procedures in Project Management. These are the standard ways of working which provide guidance to those performing project tasks. Standard processes and procedures encourage efficient methods of operating and so minimise wasted resources and effort – precious commodities for businesses, particularly small ones.
Processes and procedures should be as light touch as possible. Remember the purpose is to standardise and document what you do – not produce reams of paperwork that people won’t read. Considering this, flow diagrams or procedures with images as well as text are effective. Do what works and what helps people, rather than anything bureaucratic. Quality problems, defects and confusion can be significantly reduced with some basic common standards and procedures that everybody understands.
Small manufacturing and engineering businesses should consider developing a small number of procedures to control and standardise what they do, in a few key areas of the business. Use a phrase that suits your organisation, be it ‘standard operating procedure’, ‘work instruction’, ‘standard’, ‘process’ etc. whatever phrase works for you. As internal expertise increases, refine and add to them. Processes and procedures should be set out in a clear step-by-step manner, explaining what is expected to perform a given task.
Engineering Project Management Procedure recommendations and benefits include….
Why not get those who do the job well to draft the procedures? Capture best practice, as performed by your best employees. Get administrative staff to record it and write it up. Then use this as the standard to drive performance and increase productivity of those being trained or learning, either new or having switching roles within the organisation.
Use different media to capture procedures. As well as text use images, particularly for assemblies or activities that are complicated, where quality issue are well known or there is a high probability of a mistake being made. Why not be more radical and consider using video, perhaps taken on mobile phone. Could it be made accessible as a short training video on your IT network? Procedures should be displayed at work stations, either as laminated instruction sheets or on monitors where employees work.
Procedures demonstrate a consistent method of undertaking project management tasks. They encourage different projects from across the business to be completed in a consistent way. As a result, employees become more familiar with established methods. When this encompasses best practice, in the form of procedures, the results for the business can be dramatic. They include greater efficiency through standardisation, higher productivity, quicker training, less waste and lower costs.
Customising Engineering Project Management Procedures...
The Importance of Tailoring Paperwork to the Size of the Project
Depending on the size of the project, each of the stages within the plan may range from a few sentences to detailed reports. The thing to remember here is project planning documentation can be scaled up or down, depending on the size of the project. This point is often not emphasised enough, which has led to the assumption that formal project management is bureaucratic. It shouldn’t be.
The advantages it brings when undertaken properly are huge. What’s more, most engineers are familiar with projects that haven’t been managed or controlled well. The results are familiar - late delivery, rework, cost overruns, high stress, unreasonable requests, confrontation, the list goes on. In summary then, all project management documentation, including initiation and planning, should be tailored according to the needs and size of the project.
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