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Integrating Outsourced Engineering Project Managers with Internal Client Teams

Integrating Outsourced Engineering Project Managers with Internal Client Teams
July 4, 2024

Effective collaboration between internal client teams and outsourced engineering project managers who are seconded to the client organisation, is crucial for delivering successful outcomes in engineering projects. At TEG Projects we’ve found that ensuring that project team is aligned and working towards a common goal is essential for achieving excellence in project delivery. Here, we explore key strategies to foster seamless integration and maximise the potential of combined expertise.

Clear Communication Channels

To ensure effective communication and collaboration between internal teams and seconded project managers, clear communication channels are essential. At TEG Projects we start by establishing communication protocols that outline the frequency and methods of communication, such as daily stand-ups, weekly updates, and monthly reviews. We utilise collaboration tools such as OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams to facilitate real-time communication and seamless collaboration on project tasks. Additionally, we schedule regular check-ins to discuss progress, address any emerging issues, and ensure alignment between all stakeholders involved in the project. These practices help maintain clarity, enhance teamwork, and optimise project delivery. When TEG Projects came on board to project manage a factory relocation for a large global food beverage provider we followed much the same communication process as outlined above, the client was delighted with the project outcome and the midstream project changes were met and engineered within the timeframe.

Defined Roles and Responsibilities

To enhance project ownership and role clarity, we designate a Project Sponsor as well as key roles within the site team, empowering each person to take ownership of the project. This approach shifts the focus toward external project managers supporting the site in achieving their project goals. Clearly defining roles and responsibilities for both internal and external teams helps minimise overlap and confusion. We also find that implementing a RACI matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) further clarifies who is responsible for specific tasks and decisions, ensuring effective collaboration and accountability throughout the project lifecycle.

Shared Goals, Objectives and Integrated Planning

To foster cohesion and alignment within project teams, it’s essential to establish shared goals and objectives that are clearly understood by both internal and external stakeholders. This unified vision ensures everyone is working towards the same outcomes. Additionally, defining key performance indicators (KPIs) collaboratively to effectively measure progress and success, provides a clear benchmark for performance evaluation. Integrated planning is crucial; involving the entire project team, including site operations and engineering personnel, ensuring comprehensive understanding and alignment during the planning stages. This was the case when we assisted Fonterra’s project manager to upgrade their Waitoa treated water plant. Integrated planning and a unified vision was essential to deliver the project efficiently. This approach facilitates coordinated activities such as installation and commissioning with production schedules and site logistics, optimising project efficiency and success.

Onboarding Outsourced Projects Managers Into Internal Teams

Facilitating team-building activities like shared lunches, morning teas, and brain-storming sessions helps to nurture relationships, build trust and integrate the outsourced project manager within the internal project team. We find that projects run more smoothly when a comprehensive onboarding process for external project team members is provided, which goes beyond documentation and paperwork. Ideally we layer an in-depth overview of the company’s processes and expectations, with opportunities to connect and understand the company culture. Taking into consideration each area increases the likelihood of a straightforward project. Additionally, we ensure regular one-on-one meetings between the client Capital Project Manager and the external Engineering Project Manager to maintain open communication about project progress and address any potential challenges proactively. These practices contribute to a cohesive and productive project environment.

Trust, Conflict Resolution and Feedback

To ensure a productive and harmonious project environment, prioritise transparency and trust among team members. To do this we facilitate open information sharing to encourage transparency and ensure all project stakeholders are well-informed. We build a culture of trust by acknowledging and valuing the contributions of each team member, fostering mutual respect and collaboration. We establish clear escalation paths and processes for resolving conflicts promptly and effectively, and we equip engineering project managers and team leaders with conflict resolution training to handle disputes constructively. We also find that implementing regular performance reviews to evaluate team performance and provide constructive feedback, helps to ensure a smooth project as well as continuous improvement for our own internal team. 

Leadership and Support

To foster effective leadership and support within the project, we’ve found it to be crucial to ensure alignment and strong leadership from both internal project teams. Leaders should actively support and promote collaboration across teams, ensuring unified goals and smooth execution. Additionally, appointing an executive sponsor within the client organisation to champion the project and address high-level issues, provides strategic direction and oversight to ensure project success. We have found at TEG Projects that this approach of both strong leadership and open communication maintains momentum, resolves challenges, and drives the project towards its objectives effectively.

Documentation and Knowledge Sharing

To enhance documentation and knowledge sharing within the project, we establish a centralised repository for all project-related documents that is accessible to the project team. This ensures easy retrieval of information and promotes consistency across all project phases. Additionally, scheduling regular knowledge sharing sessions where team members can exchange insights, lessons learned, and best practices are important – and we’ve found this to be helpful both during the project, and at completion. These sessions foster collaboration, improve decision-making, and enable continuous improvement throughout the project lifecycle.

Implementing these best practices is integral to TEG Projects’ commitment to creating a cohesive and collaborative environment where the project team synergise effectively to achieve project goals. By maintaining a centralised repository for project documentation accessible to both teams, TEG ensures streamlined access to critical information, promoting transparency and alignment throughout the project lifecycle. Regular knowledge sharing sessions further enhance teamwork by facilitating the exchange of insights, lessons learned, and best practices between team members. This strengthens decision-making processes and project outcomes for the client, but also cultivates a culture of continuous improvement within TEG Projects, ensuring that each project benefits from collective expertise and innovation.
If you have a project that requires an Outsourced Project Manager seconded to your business for the implementation of a capital project, get in touch today.