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By Morley Selver, P.Eng IPMA B

Why Do We Do It?

As project managers we are responsible for delivering an operating asset, new piece of equipment, new software program, etc. Most companies have the codes, procedures and processes in place. But it takes more than that to get the project done. 

When we start a project, it is usually just a concept. To get from this concept to the finish, there are the procedures, methods, and tools. However, there is more  to project management than these. I was always considered as one who got things done, so from my experience, project management also involves:

  • Being creative. You’re starting with a blank piece of paper and your team has to develop what you think someone else wants. Producing 3D models using Autocad is a great development tool to allow the stakeholders to walk through what you are planning and does the model fit their concept. New technologies and materials allow you to be even more creative. By using 3D printing you can now show stakeholders physical models in greater detail.  
  • You need to be able to solve problems, which are daily. Following a systematic approach rather than trial and error will result in better solutions. Be prepare to think outside the box. Are there new technologies you can use to solve the problem? Look ahead, what can you do now to prevent a problem in the future? 
  • Since all your resources are limited (this includes, labour, equipment, material, and funding) you have to work at acquiring what you need. You have to anticipate what you need in advance and get commitments for the resource. If you have a past history of delivering what you promised, this makes getting resources easier. If people want to work for you, even better. 
  • You should know your team. Use every opportunity to train the junior members of the team. Use your projects to improve everyones  skills, this includes your support staff, like your secretaries. Understand what motivates each team member and change your style to match theirs. Remember, there could be millions of dollars at stake so you can’t have a divisive team. You want the team to work together like a well oiled machine. Everyone has there quirks. You have to make them  work to your advantage. 
  • You need to be aware of new advances in technology and materials. Can your  team apply them to the project? Computers are changing the way we operate and monitor equipment, do the design, collect information.  These changes are happening at a rapid pace and can reduce design, construction and operating costs.  You have to be innovative.
  • Understand and practice the 15 behaviours of project managers.  You have to keep the team on a steady keel no matter what is going on around you. Everyone has someone they will never work for again and it all comes down to how they treated you. Behaviours are not something project managers are typically trained in so, it takes practice, practice, practice. The 15 behaviours can be found in this document:
  • Projects go through highs and lows. There are always good and bad rumors and it is up to you to be honest about them. You have to be enthusiastic about what you are doing as the team needs to stay focused through the ups and downs. You know the big picture and have to relay it to the team members to get the enthused. 
  • Working long hours and weekends to keep the project moving along. Sleepless nights thinking about what could go wrong, or remembering things you should have done. Traveling on your own time. The project becomes all encompassing. It becomes difficult to have a balanced life. 

Projects are fun and can take from six months to up to two years or more to do, so your team becomes important to you. In spite of all the project problems and issues you go through, when the design, construction and startup comes together and the equipment performs as designed, there is a “rush” of satisfaction and achievement. A high or an emotional release. You can get the “rush” on small projects that work out. It depends on your skill level. This “rush” is the joy of working on projects, being a project manager, and what keeps us going. 

Watch the following video to the end which illustrates the “rush” better than I can explain it in words:

The Joy



Project Management in Oil & Gas - On-line Course

If you want to prepare for transferring your project management skills to a new job in the Oil & Gas field then sign up and take the on-line short course “Intro To Oil & Gas Industry Project Management” at:


Fundamentals of Project Management

Start planning now to take your Project Management Survival Skills in February 2015 in Calgary with our ‘Fundamentals of Project Management’ workshop. 

Here are our 2015 dates:

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Calgary AB September 1 - 3, 2015

Houston TX October 20 - 22, 2015

Calgary AB November 18 - 20, 2015

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Certificate In EPC Project Management

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