Customers should use providers that demonstrate they have and are following a detailed, effective project methodology. Customers must support the methodology, particularly the design freeze concept. Finally, they must ensure that their project representative has sufficient experience and is given adequate authority.
1. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 2000, Project Management Institute, www.pmi.org
2. Trevathan, Vernon, Course MT-10, "Planning, Justifying, and Executing Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Projects," 2002, ISA, www.isa.org
Vernon L. Trevathan, PE, PMP, has worked in process control and project management for 40 years, mostly with Monsanto, in engineering and manufacturing management positions. He is an ISA Fellow, currently consults and teaches in project management for control, and may be reached at email@example.com.
Project Management Skills and Tasks
There are three main categories of non-technical tasks necessary to lead a project:
* General Management: communications, leadership, team building, motivation, problem-solving, and many other areas. These tend to be similar for all types of projects.
* Project Management Processes: general analytical project management skills as covered in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK), such as earned value, risk management, and work breakdown structure concept. Some of these need to be tailored to process control projects.
* Project Lifecycle: phases of the project. This is not covered in general project management literature because it needs to be different for each type of project. Many of the extensions needed for process control projects fall into this category.
PMP Certification: A Model for Control?
Project Management Professional (PMP) certification has been enormously successful and has become a key measure of a project manager's capability for job placement and advancement. It has brought more stature to the profession, which is important because most project managers (like most process control engineers) have graduated in some other field.
Certification has raised the educational level of project managers. The PMP requirements include initial and ongoing formal training, and many applicants report studying hundreds of additional hours for the exam. A side benefit has been the explosion of training courses and materials for project management.
Process control could achieve similar benefits from a certification program with real penetration. The certification would have to be standalone and not part of the U.S. Professional Engineer registration, which is not required for most controls work. Of course, because of the breadth of the controls field, an "Industrial Automaton Professional" certification program would need to include specialization in a half-dozen or so areas.