The Role of Project Management in M&R with Lucas Marino
We’re excited to have Lucas Marino back. He works at Amentum and is the owner of the East Partnership. He’s also working on the book Level of Repair Analysis. In the past, he spent many years in logistics engineering and the coast guard. Lucas will be delving into Project Management as a vital aspect of any maintenance or reliability professional’s role.
Some of the important insights include:
- What is a project, and what is PM?
- How important is managing risks in projects?
- Does a reliability professional have to be an expert in PM?
and so much more!
What is a project, and what is PM?
The Project Management Institute defines it as an endeavor that has a definitive beginning and end. It exists to do a particular thing, a controlled effort to deliver value to the user or organization.
When looking at it from a maintenance and reliability professional’s angle, we’re often involved in projects. However, we don’t think about them as being structured endeavors. Once you become aware and educated on how to properly run projects, you realize:
- How important it is
- What you missed in the past
- What you can do in the future
What makes up the PM body of knowledge?
The text itself is rather large and robust, trying to encompass all the different best practices, tools, and ways to view and manage projects. The PMBOK is adjustable for your applications. It doesn’t specify a surefire way to run projects. What it does is try and get into the different elements of PM and convey many of the best practices and solid foundational knowledge of PM. You’ll have a better idea of what you’re doing or should do in a project to reach your project goal within the constraints.
How important is managing risks in projects?
Every Project Manager’s job is to manage risk. It’s a blanket that covers all functions within a project. So, the PMBOK tries to convey principles and perspectives on risk. But you need to understand that the assessment and management of risk are inherent in the project, and the project manager has to remember that at all times. When you get good at identifying and managing risk, you can control risk to a certain degree from day one.
A risk is a risk until it’s not, then it becomes an issue. The hard thing about risk for some people is managing uncertainty. Some people are more comfortable with the unknown than others, which helps you also learn a lot about yourself.
If you look at the PMI way of business, two of the key functions with risks outside of identification are:
- Qualifying risk – understanding the risk
- Quantifying risk – developing risk strategies
You need to balance the three realms of project management:
When you look at risk, you should definitely assess it against the constraints. Also look at risk external to that when possible, which is a bit harder and takes more time.
Engineering and technical project managers also miss the tie to business drivers. All approved projects have a business value tied to them. These could be indicated in charters or a business case analysis, and need to get tied back to those value statements.
How do project managers balance the three different elements of PM?
Like any other resource balance, you have a lot of constraints. Quality really gets people because, for instance, how much do you invest in reaping a certain amount of quality benefit? So, as a project manager, you may not have control over the functional areas of your company, making it hard to balance the three elements. Being an integrator, maximizing the teamwork, the communication and stakeholder management, as well as integrating the project staff and technicians can bring greater value across all three constraints. It also creates a lot of transparency.
How does balancing the elements of PM relate to maintenance and reliability professionals?
There’s a lot of projects associated with maintaining complex assets. A maintenance and reliability professional has a technical capability that a normal project manager strictly involved in business doesn’t have. So, such a professional would add more value to a PM role if they could wear both hats, as a project manager and technically capable person leading a technical project.
Does a reliability professional have to be an expert in PM?
A professional with a little bit of knowledge in the field would still go a long way. Don’t wait for someone to become an expert before you let them do something. Risk-averse organizations that don’t allow technical leaders to do PM risk having professionals with skills that aren’t sharp when needed since they’d be out of practice. And, you shouldn’t expect them to be experts in PM unless that’s what they do for a living.
The organization has to realize that they have to strike a balance with the capability of their staff. To do that, you can:
- Train technically minded people to be efficient project managers
- Go hire dedicated project managers with a technical background
- Have a PM office
Organizations should also be open to bringing in outside help when necessary.
Where do you get started with PM?
There are many different approaches. In most cases, someone in a different field within the organization gets entrusted with a project. That way they get hands-on experience and learn, which can be costly in several cases. So, for those who would like to promote existing staff, you should provide PM training. If you’re the staff member, you should seek these opportunities from your superiors.
What PM certifications are available?
The Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional Certification (PMP) is the most commonly adopted certification, worldwide. It’s the forerunner for PM professionals who already have PM experience. PMI looks at people going for the certification as people who are already PM professionals.
There’s a CAPM certification which is like a project manager in development certification that you can get from PMI. It attempts to bridge the gap between someone with enough experience to do the PMP and someone who doesn’t. The PMBOK comes in handy for this certification. There are also the certifications associated with Agile Applications of Project Management.
The PMP aims to be more all-encompassing with their shift to a much heavier Agile focused exam than with previous exam additions. These changes are expected from January.
Where to get information on the PM certification course?
East Partnership partners with other entrepreneurs that provide training to people that maintain or sustain the world’s greatest assets, and managers as well. One partnership is with PM-ProLearn, which has been widely successful due to their relationship with their students. They started by focusing on getting the US military project managers certified, then later picked up large corporate customers like T-Mobile.
On EastPartnership.org, you’ll find a page for PMP people interested in seeking certification. You can also reach out to Ian, Tim, or Josh at PM-ProLearn and let them know Lucas sent you so that they can talk to you. PM-ProLearn happens to be one of the best organizations for aspiring PM professionals.
One of the issues you’ll find with PM is that because it’s so popular, a lot of organizations out there try to offer it. Most of these organizations are just looking for money. But with PM-ProLearn, Tim, the owner, has always been out to help people transition into the right profession.
Lucas Marino Links:
- Lucas Marino LinkedIn
- Why Tech Industries Should Consider Project Management Professional (PMP) Cert Training
- The East Partnership Project Management Course
- PM ProLearn
- Amentum website
- The East Partnership
- PMP Certification
- CAPM Certification
- Past Lucas Episodes
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