Project Management Guide
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What Is Engineering Project Management?

Engineering project management is a type of project management that focuses solely on engineering projects. It uses the same standard methodologies and processes as any other type of project management. This specialization is likely to appeal to anyone with an engineering background who wants to get into the field of project management.

Engineering project management vs. engineering management

Engineering management is centered on managing engineers and engineering tasks where:

  • Tasks are routine
  • Processes are repeatable
  • Work is ongoing, with no defined end
  • Tasks are part of regular business operations

Engineering project management is focused on managing engineering projects — for example, designing a new office building.

One key difference is that engineering project management requires the management of all aspects of the project, not just of the engineers or engineering work.

Some non-engineering tasks that an engineering project manager still has to manage are:

  • Scheduling
  • Purchasing of materials
  • Approval of plan documentation
  • Budget and cost management

Engineering project manager vs. project engineer

An engineering project manager is the project manager on an engineering project. A project engineer is an engineer that works as part of the project team but is not the project manager. For example, a design engineer may be part of a project for designing a building. This person is a project team member, and possibly even a subject matter expert, but not the project manager. Sometimes a lead project engineer may be assigned to a project. Their job is to oversee and approve the project's technical engineering components. This usually happens when the project manager does not have an engineering background.

Do you need an engineering degree for engineering project management?

The requirements may vary depending on the industry, company, and project. However, it is possible for a person to successfully manage an engineering project without an engineering background. The key is to have a project management background and to have engineering subject matter experts on your team. 

Is a special degree required for engineering project management?

There are university courses in engineering project management. However, the fundamentals of engineering project management are the same as those of other projects. Education in engineering can be beneficial for gaining a job in this field but is not necessarily a requirement. Sound knowledge of project management best practices is more critical to success in this role. If you are already a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), it is unlikely that you will need additional education.

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