One of the many advantages of completing a Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MCSE) degree is its practical use in project management. Working in project management is challenging. In addition to needing a strong foundation in analytics, successful project managers must have people skills, problem-solving capabilities, and the ability to adapt quickly to changes.
The online Master of Science in Civil Engineering program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology allows students to enroll in one of three specialized tracks: structural design and construction, transportation, or construction management. Each program is designed to provide graduates with fundamental skills to manage projects effectively.
Managing Creative Ideas for Civil Engineering Projects
Proactive management throughout the design, programming, and planning phases of a civil engineering project are essential duties of the project manager for a couple of reasons. First, an effective design can reduce environmental impact and cost. Second, a well-programmed project will fulfill the needs of its end-users and continue to benefit them throughout its lifetime.
Successful project management includes five key aspects: initiating, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, and closing. Below are a few of the strategies that engineers use to ensure work remains on track from start to finish.
Establish Design Schedules and Budgets
Civil engineering project managers start by meeting with the client and, in some cases, the designer to define the budget and set timelines. If a client indicates they want to complete project X at a budget of Y, project managers use this information to determine the project’s financial parameters.
Managing unrealistic client expectations is a must. Project managers sometimes may need to meet clients’ goals by using limited materials and methodologies to stay within budget.
Develop a Concept
During this phase, the scope of the project is discussed to determine its feasibility. The project manager examines potential problems and whether any solutions are viable. Some of the more creative ideas for civil engineering projects may not be achievable based on design and/or budgeting parameters. As a result, those charged with managing the project will need to communicate that finding with the client.
Define the Scope of the Project
The objectives and goals of the project need to be definable and achievable. Determining the tangible goals is a must to help create subgoals and timelines, which are the building blocks required to reach the desired results.
Set Agendas and Manage Legalities
Project management meetings need outlines and an agenda, and those charged with leading must be adept at keeping discussions on track. As each agenda item is completed, a plan of action is devised. Meeting leaders need to consider any legal or regulatory issues coming out of the newly formed project plan. Successful project managers find creative, out-of-the-box solutions to allow projects to reach completion without administrative or legal delays.
Create a Documentation and Record-Keeping System
Executing a civil engineering project requires meticulous record keeping. Fortunately, advancements in technology and cloud computing have made this task easier. There are several easy-to-use, affordable project management software solutions available, many with browser-based user interfaces and low-cost cloud infrastructures to save time and money.
Prioritize Quality Control During Design Procedures
Many clients only see two factors relating to a project: cost and delivery time. Ensuring that clients’ expectations are met using quality control and proactive management is not always easy. Project managers must be skilled communicators throughout the design process to ensure the end results match the desired outcome.
Manage the Design Process
The early phases of a civil engineering project often begin before a contract is awarded, as engineers must determine the size and type of design required. Those involved in the proposal phase test the data available and the footprint of the project area for its impacts on design.
Among the more creative ideas for civil engineering projects is that of using drones during the design phase. Some companies use this technology to survey hard-to-view points of land. Besides saving time, drones provide distinct, overhead views of the proposed construction site.
How an MSCE Degree Can Help Enhance Your Project Management Skills
The online Master of Science in Civil Engineering program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology provides working engineers with the knowledge to refine and advance their project management expertise. Graduates gain an enhanced understanding of scheduling, resource-allocation, cost-estimating, and time-cost analysis, which are among the key skills needed for an effective civil engineering project.
Learn more about how an online MCSE from NJIT can help you further your career.
Forbes, “6 Steps to Planning a Successful Building Project” New Jersey Institute of Technology, Online Master of Science in Civil Engineering
Project Management Institute, What Is Project Management?