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Chris Campbell, electrical engineer

Project Management

Over the last two decades I have executed a large number of small projects and one very large project.

The small projects were simply new system builds, starting with design and procurement, running through installation and test, and ending with final handoff to operations.

The one very large project involve the total overhaul (essentially a complete rebuild) of a very large system that was business-critical to our operations.  The project cost was modest, below $1M, but involved two full, intense years of my time, affected over a hundred regular users of the system, extended to facilities around Atlanta and across globe, and leveraged several engineers at the company that supplied the platform.

Earlier in my career I built systems in partnership with program management.  Each project had a PM to manage and an SE to engineer.  My duty was to make sure the system actually worked and did what the customer needed, and the PM’s duty was to handle the business side so that we came in under budget and on time.  Typically the project started with a hand-off from sales, was executed by us over a couple months, included an installation phase involving field travel, and then ramped down to closeout punchlist items and hand off to support.  Multiple projects would be in work simultaneously.

Basic PM skills:

  • keeping up with todo lists / punchlists, communicated to project partners
  • staying on top of vendor interaction / coordination
  • keeping track of who owes us what, and following up, both internally and externally
  • watching out for future choke points (i.e. critical path)
  • advertising project status somehow, even via something as simple as a whiteboard outside my office showing task status

I will report honestly on progress, and will do my best to accurate estimate the time and effort remaining ahead of us.  I will be prepared to re-prioritize if management / PM calls for it.