Working as an Electrical Engineering Project Manager is a career that offers many rewarding experiences and opportunities for professional and personal growth. Meet Yen, one of our Electrical Engineering Project Managers, and learn about some important factors that contribute to project success.
Can you share a bit about your educational and professional background that led you to the role of an Electrical Engineering Project Manager?
I earned my Bachelor of Engineering from The University of Newcastle. This program gave me a solid understanding in electrical systems, circuits, and design principles. I began my career at Divergent Engineering where I worked on a variety of projects ranging from electrical system design to managing small projects on-site. These experiences allowed me to develop a deep understanding of electrical engineering concepts and practical applications. As I progressed in my career, I realised I had a strong interest in managing projects and leading teams to successful outcomes.
As an electrical engineering project manager, what are some of the most exciting or challenging projects you have been involved in? Could you describe one in detail?
One project that comes to mind is a project in Bindulli North, which was particularly exciting due to its scale and the complexity of how to produce gold. The primary goal of the project was to construct and operate a gold mining facility. The completion time was a critical factor for our client as it would have a significant impact on their capital budget.
One of the key challenges we faced was a tight deadline. It required a great deal of strategic planning and collaboration to overcome. My role as site team lead involved coordinating our Divergent Engineering team and electricians whilst ensuring quality and safety standards are followed before energising the electrical equipment. I played a crucial role in creating a detailed plan for each task and allocating resources efficiently. In the end, we successfully completed the project without any accidents. It was a testament to the dedication and expertise of our team.
How do you ensure effective communication and teamwork among the various specialists and stakeholders involved?
I believe that collaboration and communication are the two major pillars of successful engineering projects. This includes regular team meetings, status updates, and clear lines of communication between team members and stakeholders. I make sure that each team member understands their defined roles and accountabilities to ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them minimising any overlaps and gaps in responsibilities. I encourage an open environment where every team member’s input is valued. This not only helps creativity but also ensures that potential issues are identified and addressed early.
We schedule regular process meetings where team members provide updates on their development and the challenges they are facing. We also maintain clear documentation of project milestones, meeting minutes and action items. We actively seek input from stakeholders, address their concerns, and keep them in the loop all the time to ensure alignment with their expectations. After each project, we reflect on our communication and teamwork processes, identifying areas where we excelled and areas where we can enhance our collaboration in future projects.
How do you identify potential risks in electrical engineering projects, and what strategies do you employ to manage them?
Risk assessment and mitigation are vital in ensuring the success of any project, especially in electrical engineering. To identify potential risks, we take a proactive approach. We conduct brainstorming sessions with the team to discuss all possible scenarios that could impact the project's success and people’s safety.
We catergorise identified risks into technical, financial, and environmental categories. For each risk, we assess its potential impact, its likelihood of occurrence, and consequences. This allows us to prioritise risks and focus on mitigating them. Mitigation strategies vary depending on the nature of the risk. Strategies may include contingency planning, resource allocation, or design changes. Risk management is an ongoing process, and we regularly monitor the status of identified risks, looking for any changes or emerging threats. After each project, we conduct a post-analysis to identify what went well and where improvements can be made in our risk management process.
Can you share a memorable success story or breakthrough that you have had in your career as an electrical engineering project manager?
One moment that came to mind was when we were assisting in a project to construct and operate a gold production mining facility in Kalgoorlie. The project was transitioning from the Construction Phase to the Commissioning Phase. A major challenge we encountered was the delivery of a chemical to the site via road trip. One of the safety requirements to succeed in this job was to have an emergency stop button at the location of the truck unloading bay. We were engaged to review the design and identified that the initial design did not include this configuration. This obstacle had the potential to significantly impact the project’s timeline, but we managed to develop this safety configuration and establish it within the given timeframe and the truck successfully delivered the chemical on-site.
How does Divergent Engineering support your role as a project manager?
I truly appreciate the support and opportunities I have had here at Divergent Engineering. Working at Divergent Engineering has had a significant positive impact on my growth and success. I really enjoy the collaborative culture and have the privilege to work alongside talented colleagues. I have always been encouraged to think innovatively and explore creative solutions to project challenges. I could talk about the fantastic support I have received at Divergent Engineering all day. If you have any specific questions or would like to hear more about my experience, please feel free to ask.
For those considering a career in electrical engineering project management, what advice would you give them to succeed and thrive in this role?
Pursuing a career in electrical engineering project management is extremely rewarding. It is a field where you can make a significant impact and contribute to exciting projects. Seeking mentorship or networking with experienced project managers and learning about their experiences and insights can accelerate growth.
Technical proficiency is crucial as well as developing a deep understanding of electrical systems and project management software. Sharpening your communication and collaboration skills is important as you will often work with diverse teams and stakeholders. Time management and organisation are your allies. Efficient planning and scheduling tasks will help you meet deadlines and keep projects on track. You also need to be ready to find innovative solutions to various challenges and unexpected issues.
There will be moments of stress and difficulties, but being honest and having a positive attitude can help you overcome them. Electrical engineering project management offers a dynamic and fulfilling career path. Approach it with determination and enthusiasm, and you will find it incredibly rewarding.