Project Engineering

The Essential Toolbox for Young Engineers


  • Frederick Plummer, President Project Integrity Consulting, Houston, Texas

For newly hired young engineers assigned to their first real 'project', there has been little to offer in the way of advice on 'where to begin', 'what to look out for and avoid', and 'how to get the job done right'. This book gives this advice from an author with long experience as senior engineer in government and industry (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Exxon-Mobil). Beginning with guidance on understanding the typical organizational structure of any type of technical firm or company, author Plummer incorporates numerous hands-on examples and provides help on getting started with a project team, understanding key roles, and avoiding common pitfalls. In addition, he offers unique help on first-time experiences of working in other countries with engineering cultures that can be considerably different from the US.
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Engineers typically put in charge of complex design projects, including mechanical, industrial, chemical, and civil engineers; New and mid-level managers in manufacturing and process industries responsible for team management on engineering projects; Both senior undergraduate and graduate-level engineers about to enter the workplace, including mechanical, industrial, civil, electrical, and chemical engineers.


Book information

  • Published: May 2007
  • ISBN: 978-0-7506-8279-4


"Project Engineering is an excellent reference work on the basis of launching an engineering career amd staying on the right course." "Project Engineering was written with two goals in mind: helping the freshly minted engineer survive his or her first foray into the workforce and aiding the established working engineer as he or she seeks to advance to a leadership oisition." "Beginning with a description of the scope of a project engineer's typical areas of responsilbiliy, Plummer noted that they run the gamut from core planning to safety, risk management, cost control, and scheduling." Civil Engineering, Ray Bert

Table of Contents

Preface and AcknowledgementChapter 1When Opportunity KnocksWhere do you start?Your Boss(es)What do they want?Do it!Chapter 2What Do Project Engineers Do?Total Area ResponsibilityTypes of AreasDefining the AreaThe Project Engineer’s DutiesPlan and Control the Basic WorkLead SafetyIdentify, Assess, and Mitigate RiskAchieve Quality StandardsControl Schedule and CostBalance the Safety, Quality, Cost, and Schedule PrioritiesControl InterfacesManage ChangesSolve Problems and Commercial IssuesLead the EffortReferencesChapter 3A Crash Course in ManagementThe Way It Should BeThe Task SideThe People SideThe Way It IsManagement Skills for a Project EngineerPeople-related QuestionsTask-related QuestionsReferencesChapter 4How Projects WorkPlan the Work and Work the PlanOverall Project FrameworkMajor PhasesProject ManagementPlanning: Evaluation and DefinitionEvaluationDefinitionProject ApprovalProject Implementation: Engineering and ProcurementEngineering and Procurement -- an Integrated ProcessProject Implementation: ManufacturingClient InputPlanning, Basis Development, and Systems EngineeringEngineeringDevelopmentManufacturing and SubcontractingTestingTime PressureRole of Project EngineersProject Implementation: ConstructionConstruction SystemsArea FocusConsequences of Mistakes and ChangesClient InterventionFocus Shifts to Systems at the EndProject Implementation: Commissioning and StartupTransitions and HandoffsBack to Project EngineeringReferencesChapter 5Learning Project Engineering on the Job: A Case StudyCase StudySeptember 20 Sara sends up an SOSSeptember 21: Sara’s Fax to KramerSeptember 24: Trouble around the BendOctober 1: Jeff gets squeezedOctober 1: Edgar jump-starts the engineeringOctober 1: Chet taps the “good ole boy” networkOctober 1: Planning meeting continues -- the compressor is a problemOctober 4: Sara digs in her heelsOctober 13: The design review hits the fanOctober 13: Changes cost big-timeOctober 28: Good work but bad resultsNovember 3: Crunch-timeNovember 8: Jeff shows upNovember 16: The negotiationNovember 22: A pause to enjoy and ponderReflection on the CaseChapter 6Skills That Can Get You AheadPerspective on Getting AheadWhat Does it Mean to Get Ahead?What Does it Take to Get Ahead?CompetenceTechnical Skills and Hard WorkPersonal Efficiency and EffectivenessBusiness JudgmentPerformance Evaluations and the CompetitionOffice PoliticsPatronsExposureDealing with Office PoliticsSocial SkillsPerspective RevisitedReferencesChapter 7Things That Can Get You FiredLaws and RegulationsFinance and AccountingAnti-trustBribery and CorruptionClassified, Proprietary, and Other Confidential InformationFalse ReportingEmployment ApplicationRecords and TimesheetsTest Results, Data, and Research ResultsRequired ReportingDrugs and AlcoholHarassmentConflict of InterestTypes of Conflicts of InterestAwarenessOther Organizational Ethics PoliciesDrawing the LineReferencesChapter 8International Business SkillsThe Cultural GameGlobal BusinessStart with YourselfCulture Shock is RealCoping StrategiesInter-cultural SkillsWhat has to Change in the International Setting?Cross-cultural Communications SkillsTime, Goals, and PatienceAn Approach to Resolving DifferencesApplication to the Project Engineer’s JobGaining RapportInternational Project PlanningThe International ToolboxReferencesChapter 9Advice from the ProsAdvice from Young Project EngineersHow to Approach the JobForeign Construction WorkAdvice from a Senior ExecutiveAchieving ResultsAdvice from Project Engineers, Managers, and ExecutivesProject ProverbsAn Intercultural Aspect of ContractingProject Engineering for Manufacturing High-tech EquipmentStructuring and Organizing Engineering and Procurement on Mega-ProjectsKey Lessons Learned from a Handful of Engineering and Procurement Mega-projectsPlanning a High-tech, Global IT Project: Management Support and Buy-inQuality: An Historical PerspectiveBalancing Quality, Cost, and ScheduleRisk Management and Dealing with CrisesRisk Management: A Project Manager’s ViewRisk Management: An Engineer’s ViewRisk Management: Beginnings and EndingsRisk Management: Dealing with Crises and Calling TimeoutRisk Mitigation through Organizational Development and Alignment ProgramsLooking Back: How to Approach the JobLooking Back: The Project Engineer’s RoleLooking Back: A Career StrategyAn Interview with an Experienced Project Engineer and Manager Chapter 10Approach the Job with ConfidenceThe Pygmalion EffectYou have a Sound Basis for Your ConfidenceThe Foundation: Education and Interpersonal SkillsTo Get Started in the WorkplaceThe Project Engineer’s Basic DutiesHow to Manage Tasks and PeopleHow Projects WorkJob Experience from the Case StudyKnowing What it Takes to Get AheadAn Understanding of Acceptable Business ConductHow to Approach Working InternationallySound Advice from Project ProfessionalsThe Opportunities and BoundlessReferencesGlossaryIndexAbout the Author