Top Project Management Tools and Tips for Engineering Projects

Here at PIF we’ve scoured the web for the best project management tips for you to use in your everyday Process Industry planning scenarios.

Project management

What is it that makes a project seamlessly and successfully come to a close? Is it the project team? The project management tools? Or the Project management planning?

Agree your terms of reference from the outset

That’s according to, who say: “Often called the project 'terms of reference', the project specification should be an accurate description of what the project aims to achieve, and the criteria and flexibilities involved, its parameters, scope, range, outputs, sources, participants, budgets and timescales.

“The acronym BOSCARDET provides a useful example structure for Terms of Reference headings: Background, Objectives, Scope, Constraints, Assumptions, Reporting, Dependencies, Estimates, Timescales,” they add.

Identify Project and Team Requirements

The advice from Villanova University is clear: “Once you have a strong plan in place, you can start implementing it by assembling an effective project team.“

They continue: “As a project manager, you’ll need to align those skills, talents and personalities with the appropriate project needs. Make sure that each individual working on the project is clear about their task and what they are providing upon completion.”

Implement an evaluation plan from the offset

Often an afterthought, evaluation plans are critical from day one according to Write Outcomes. They say: “make sure you implement the evaluation plan at the commencement of the project and monitor it against all the milestones of the project – there is no point evaluating a project at the end as you will have missed all the ‘good’, anecdotal and important steps/challenges/issues that have made the project a success along the way.”

Know and manage your stakeholders

When managing third party projects “a good project manager will find an ally on the client team and do his or her best to build a solid relationship with that person,” says

“Through a solid relationship, the PM can learn the client-side politics and how it'll affect the process. A short conversation where you ask, "Who will need to approve X?" with a follow-up question like, "Did you think about Y-person too?" will go a long way when setting up a project plan,” they add.

View people as allies, not adversaries

That’s the gospel according to Project Management for Dummies. They say: “Focus on common goals, not individual agendas. Making people feel comfortable encourages brainstorming, creative thinking, and the willingness to try new ideas — all of which are essential to managing a successful project.“

Remember the 80/20 Rule

This is a great tip from Process Excellence Network. They say: “The 80/20 rule (or the Pareto Principle) is the idea that by doing 20% of the work you can produce 80% of the benefit of doing the whole job.”

“The value of this for a project manager is that it reminds you to focus on the 20 per cent of activities that matter. Of the activities you do during your project, only 20 per cent are important. Those 20 per cent produce 80 per cent of your results. Identify and focus on those activities.”

Have contingency plans

“No project is perfect,” says Shawna Moore of Mavenlink. She continues: “The best managers have contingency plans for each phase and milestone of a project. These are not ‘plans for failure’ but rather the ability to recognize that variables and conditions change. Be prepared.”

What works well for you when managing a project?
Let us know some of your best tips, we’d love to hear from you.

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