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What makes a Civil Engineer a good Project Manager?

Many Civil Engineers aspire to be successful Project Managers (PM). It’s a good aspiration. But how many really become? Not all. Why?

PM is not only a post to use power/ authority. It is a highly responsible key position in a company to handle a project or a bunch of projects. Being a key person, PM has responsibility of successful planning, budgeting, contracting, seamless execution, good coordination among all parties, quality control & safety, procurement & legalities, MEP works etc. Not only this; but he also has to control project cost and time. He has to identify risks and mitigate / manage it. Hence, acquiring just one particular skill or adding experience is not enough for a civil engineer to become a good PM. Apart from technical and non-technical skills, PM shall have an integrated approach to complete a project and really think out of box. Isn’t it true? He shall not think and behave like an ordinary civil engineer! Without passion it is not possible.

A civil engineering can become a good PM by undergoing proper training of necessary skills & higher knowledge. While doing a regular job it is not feasible for all. Hands-on training of various functional areas of project, leadership & corporate skills, etiquette & mannerism, high-end software skills and most importantly development of vision are necessary things in this transformation. Construction projects are characterized by team work, so there is no option for working in team. It is important for PM to practice people management skills & respectfully behave, motivate them, and willing get the work done by them. It is not only science, an art too.

Sound knowledge of technology, systems, work procedures and construction practices are essential attributes. Good PM is not just a follower, he creates new alternatives by thinking out of the box. He possesses a winner’s personality and follows values. He is equipped with management principles & follow the management processes. He is a good communicator, patient listener and diehard risk taker. Civil engineers need to get exposure of project processes, all departments and their interdependency, roles & duties, job skills, working methods and understand the integration of departments for success of any project. This change of outlook will surely help to bring out a project manager within them.


- Swanand Purandare
Faculty & Onsite training coordinator
PGDACM (NICMAR), BE Civil, CQS (RICS)

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