What Makes A Great Project Engineering Lead

What Makes A Great Project Engineering Lead

The Engineering Lead is a key player in making capital projects more predictable. Here’s what to look for in your next hire

It’s time to give your project engineering lead the status and respect they deserve.

Too often, these critically important team members fly under the radar, charged with executing complex technical work that only a small subset of the project team truly understands. Here at Concord®, we believe that engineering leads are among the most important players in a successful transition to a predictable capital project model.

As you select an engineering lead for your next project, here’s a short list of what you should be looking for — and why.


Unrivaled Technical Expertise

It should go without saying, but your engineering lead must have exemplary technical expertise, both comprehensive and cutting-edge. Projects with incompetent engineering leads find themselves mired unending disputes and dilemmas. With poor direction and ineffective feedback, teams make mistakes, and because engineering work is so seminal to project success, those mistakes cause rework as well as delays that affect every aspect of the project. Hire a savvy and technically competent engineering lead, and your projects will avoid these unnecessary complications.

Engineering Work Packages (EWP) are a key component of Advanced Work Packaging. Here at Concord®, we work closely with the project engineers to close any gaps in technical competency for preparing and delivering EWPs as expected. This can be accomplished through straight-forward training, one-on-one mentoring, or by incentivizing Deep Work among engineering teams members. In short, we believe that a well-trained engineering lead is a cornerstone of project success.


A Collaborative Mindset

A great project engineering lead is a skilled collaborator. For most engineers, this is something that needs to be learned — it is our experience that some people drawn to a career in engineering may not be naturally collaborative, and so they need specific training in soft skills like listening, communicating and working as a team.

These collaboration skills are the foundation of effective problem-solving and risk management in a construction-driven Advanced Work Packaging environment. Indeed, improvements in capital project predictability depend in large measure on your team’s ability to master this kind of collaborative problem-solving.

Practically speaking, what does collaborative engineering look like? For example, a great project engineering lead will focus on providing high-quality one-on-one feedback to team members, while reserving time-intensive review meetings for major issues. This and other strategies help keep the project on track through focused, collaborative work.


Respect For Roles And Responsibilities

All capital project organizations operate with some kind of hierarchy, and a great project engineering lead respects the roles and responsibilities of others on his or her team. It is critically important, for example, that the engineering leads understand their roles vis à vis the engineering and project managers as well as distinguishing the trade-offs that require management approval and those which don’t. On all capital project teams, leaders must focus on defining and clarifying roles and responsibilities, so that there are clear accountabilities and well-marked paths to conflict resolution.

If you’re interested in learning more about building a predictable, construction-driven team or you need assistance in hiring your next engineering lead, we’re standing by to help. Click here to contact us.

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