By Brannen ParrishMarch 15, 2019
Whether it's a feasibility study, dam safety initiative or a new hangar or facility for an advanced weapons system, once authorizations have been signed and appropriations have been made the responsibility of turning an idea into a tangible end product starts with the project manager.
In the Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, project managers, lead diverse cross-functional, Project Delivery Teams, to provide quality engineering solutions to our nation's toughest challenges.
Project management is as much art as it is a discipline and requires thick skin and large shoulders. In most instances, the PM doesn't have organizationally-designated managerial authority. What they must have in order to be successful is the ability to positively influence people to get quality results. Simply put, they must be leaders.
"The importance of the project manager. They are the point of the spear for the project management team. They're the ones who lead the entire team for the execution of the project. They are also the primary point of contact for our stakeholders and our customers. In the case of Civil Works it's our non-federal sponsors in the case of military it is the folks at the DEPW or Base Civil Engineering." Said Mike Abate, Chief of Civil Works at Tulsa District.
"So as a PM my main job in a nutshell is to really deliver the Corps' commitment to the customers and that's to deliver a project that's on time that's on budget and with exceptional quality," said Capt. Garrett Anderson, a project manager in Military Construction at the Tulsa District.
"As a project manager I get to work with a lot of different people. Different disciplines, different motivators; I get to learn their languages. Each discipline has their own language specific to it as well as different motivators for each department different metrics they're measured by. I get to see the big picture of what each project is doing and then I get to put all those pieces together and make them function as a highly functioning team to produce great products for the Corps," said Dawn Rice, a project manager in Civil Works.
A lot of changes happen in a project so when that happens a key component of project managers do we manage those changes and with that is management of expectations of the customer with what our capabilities are and couple that with what the actual contract says," Anderson said.
According to Bryan Taylor a project manager in Civil Works, there is no room for selfishness on a PDT.
"The advice I would give to a brand new project manager would be to always put the needs of your team first. A project manager has to be selfless and ensure that their team is covered from any outside distractions that could take away from execution of the project. You want your team to be focused solely on the technical deliverables that will be needed to complete the project. A good project manager is going to ensure that team has everything they need to be successful and is going to be their cover," Taylor said.
Dan Brueggenjohann, whose experience as a project manager in Civil Works spans decades stresses the importance of providing resources and clear expectations to the discipline.
"Ensure that your project team is capable, understands the requirements, and executes their work. Be it in the construction field or in the design, or the design management scheduling. All of that is integrated and the result is that you hopefully end up with a successful project. Enable their teammates and team members. You have to make sure they understand what's expected of them, provide them adequate time to perform their tasks and give them the tools and financial resources to get the work done," said Brueggenjohann.