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Looking back at my "dated" program/project experiences, as well as making use of the collective program/project experiences of my former E/A/C Quality Management System Consulting clients, and over the past 9 years or so with my university Fall semester graduate Project Management classes, I have come to understand that we can abstract-out most serious individual, "Troubling" project issues into four categories: People, Process, Technology and Leadership, i.e. attributing, for each project-issue of concern, a contributory percentage such that for each such issue the four estimated values add up to 100%. Astoundingly, I have consistently learned that no more than 30% of the restraining forces to success fall under the heading "Techology."This means that, as a minimum, some 70% or more of what drives project results "South" at the worst possible time in the life of a project appears to be our collective, undeveloped understanding to routinely apply collaboration, communication, and cooperation as a routine part of how we work together, right from the "Client Selection" and "Proposal Phase" through "Project Closeout." For example, as the project begins, a project task member informs the project manager they suspect a problem with an interdiscipinary coordination matter, and is told "Thanks for that Sally, just continue on with that work, and I'll get back to you later." . . . Right, "Later!"
So, it turns out that what the CE Profs told us were the "Hard Skills," once we were at work with other people, turned out to be the so-called "Soft Skills."
In real-world project life, the "Hard Skills" for most CEs seem to be a mix of "How to play nice with others" . . .internally and externally. . . and learning what "Listening with your eyes" and "Seeing with your ears" really means. Right, that turns out to be the "Hard Stuff!"
I would be delighted if you had some time to chat.Cheers.
Another colleague writes:
"Great summary! As a fellow "seasoned professional" I can relate that your observations and research align with my program/project experience as well. It is unfortunate that the importance of interpersonal relationships, leadership, decision making skills were not emphasized more at university and during my earlier years in the profession. It took the advent of partnering - and only when an owner embraced the full bore implementation of it - to open my eyes to the criticality of the soft skills (that are really hard). I would be interested to know if there are universities that provide core engineering courses in the soft skills. If you are aware of examples, it would be very helpful . . ."
No, my friend, I do not.
It is my hope that this discussion may "Flush" some out to the benfit of all.