Project Engineering - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780750682794, 9780080546216

Project Engineering

1st Edition

The Essential Toolbox for Young Engineers

Authors: Frederick Plummer
eBook ISBN: 9780080546216
Hardcover ISBN: 9780750682794
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 21st May 2007
Page Count: 240
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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.

Key Features

  • Reviews essentials of management for any new engineer suddenly thrust into responsibility
  • Emphasizes skills that can get you promoted—and pitfalls that can get you fired
  • Expanded case study to show typical evolution of a new engineer handed responsibility for a major design project


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

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgement
Chapter 1
When Opportunity Knocks
Where do you start?
Your Boss(es)
What do they want?
Do it!
Chapter 2
What Do Project Engineers Do?
Total Area Responsibility
Types of Areas
Defining the Area
The Project Engineer’s Duties
Plan and Control the Basic Work
Lead Safety
Identify, Assess, and Mitigate Risk
Achieve Quality Standards
Control Schedule and Cost
Balance the Safety, Quality, Cost, and Schedule Priorities
Control Interfaces
Manage Changes
Solve Problems and Commercial Issues
Lead the Effort
Chapter 3
A Crash Course in Management
The Way It Should Be
The Task Side
The People Side
The Way It Is
Management Skills for a Project Engineer
People-related Questions
Task-related Questions
Chapter 4
How Projects Work
Plan the Work and Work the Plan
Overall Project Framework
Major Phases
Project Management
Planning: Evaluation and Definition
Project Approval
Project Implementation: Engineering and Procurement
Engineering and Procurement -- an Integrated Process
Project Implementation: Manufacturing
Client Input
Planning, Basis Development, and Systems Engineering
Manufacturing and Subcontracting
Time Pressure
Role of Project Engineers
Project Implementation: Construction
Construction Systems
Area Focus
Consequences of Mistakes and Changes
Client Intervention
Focus Shifts to Systems at the End
Project Implementation: Commissioning and Startup
Transitions and Handoffs
Back to Project Engineering
Chapter 5
Learning Project Engineering on the Job: A Case Study
Case Study
September 20 Sara sends up an SOS
September 21: Sara’s Fax to Kramer
September 24: Trouble around the Bend
October 1: Jeff gets squeezed
October 1: Edgar jump-starts the engineering
October 1: Chet taps the “good ole boy” network
October 1: Planning meeting continues -- the compressor is a problem
October 4: Sara digs in her heels
October 13: The design review hits the fan
October 13: Changes cost big-time
October 28: Good work but bad results
November 3: Crunch-time
November 8: Jeff shows up
November 16: The negotiation
November 22: A pause to enjoy and ponder
Reflection on the Case
Chapter 6
Skills That Can Get You Ahead
Perspective on Getting Ahead
What Does it Mean to Get Ahead?
What Does it Take to Get Ahead?
Technical Skills and Hard Work
Personal Efficiency and Effectiveness
Business Judgment
Performance Evaluations and the Competition
Office Politics
Dealing with Office Politics
Social Skills
Perspective Revisited
Chapter 7
Things That Can Get You Fired
Laws and Regulations
Finance and Accounting
Bribery and Corruption
Classified, Proprietary, and Other Confidential Information
False Reporting
Employment Application
Records and Timesheets
Test Results, Data, and Research Results
Required Reporting
Drugs and Alcohol
Conflict of Interest
Types of Conflicts of Interest
Other Organizational Ethics Policies
Drawing the Line
Chapter 8
International Business Skills
The Cultural Game
Global Business
Start with Yourself
Culture Shock is Real
Coping Strategies
Inter-cultural Skills
What has to Change in the International Setting?
Cross-cultural Communications Skills
Time, Goals, and Patience
An Approach to Resolving Differences
Application to the Project Engineer’s Job
Gaining Rapport
International Project Planning
The International Toolbox
Chapter 9
Advice from the Pros
Advice from Young Project Engineers
How to Approach the Job
Foreign Construction Work
Advice from a Senior Executive
Achieving Results
Advice from Project Engineers, Managers, and Executives
Project Proverbs
An Intercultural Aspect of Contracting
Project Engineering for Manufacturing High-tech Equipment
Structuring and Organizing Engineering and Procurement on Mega-Projects
Key Lessons Learned from a Handful of Engineering and Procurement Mega-projects
Planning a High-tech, Global IT Project: Management Support and Buy-in
Quality: An Historical Perspective
Balancing Quality, Cost, and Schedule
Risk Management and Dealing with Crises
Risk Management: A Project Manager’s View
Risk Management: An Engineer’s View
Risk Management: Beginnings and Endings
Risk Management: Dealing with Crises and Calling Timeout
Risk Mitigation through Organizational Development and Alignment Programs
Looking Back: How to Approach the Job
Looking Back: The Project Engineer’s Role
Looking Back: A Career Strategy
An Interview with an Experienced Project Engineer and Manager
Chapter 10
Approach the Job with Confidence
The Pygmalion Effect
You have a Sound Basis for Your Confidence
The Foundation: Education and Interpersonal Skills
To Get Started in the Workplace
The Project Engineer’s Basic Duties
How to Manage Tasks and People
How Projects Work
Job Experience from the Case Study
Knowing What it Takes to Get Ahead
An Understanding of Acceptable Business Conduct
How to Approach Working Internationally
Sound Advice from Project Professionals
The Opportunities and Boundless
About the Author


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© Butterworth-Heinemann 2007
eBook ISBN:
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About the Author

Frederick Plummer

Affiliations and Expertise

President Project Integrity Consulting, Houston, Texas


"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

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