In the first of a series of occasional interviews with project managers, Fearghal Scanlon, EMEA head of quality at M+W Group, speaks about his own role and the skills and experience needed to succeed in project management
Civil

Over the coming months, the Project Management Society will publish a series of profiles of project managers in the Engineers Journal. The aim is to explore the similarities and differences between project managers across different industries with regard to skills, challenges and methodologies.

fearghal-scanlon

Fearghal Scanlon, head of quality EMEA, M+W Group

The series kicks off with a profile of Fearghal Scanlon, head of quality at M+W Group and a graduate of both Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and University College Dublin (UCD). Scanlon graduated from DIT with a BSc in engineering and also holds an MSc in technology management from UCD.

In which industry are you currently employed?

I work within the construction industry for M+W Group. M+W Group is a global leader in the design, engineering and construction of high tech facilities and major complex projects. It has extensive in-house technical resources combining process, mechanical and electrical engineering, technology integration, lean construction and commissioning expertise. The main areas of focus for the Irish office are projects related to life sciences, energy, semiconductor and nuclear industries. My current role with M+W Group is head of quality for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

How and why did you get into project management?

Some of the first companies I worked with installed semiconductor equipment in large factories. I started to get involved with managing the resources, schedules and contracts related to these equipment install projects. This gave me a good understanding of understanding and reading schedules, co-ordinating different disciplines, tracking progress against the plan and reporting to the client.

What project management methodologies do you use or have you used in the past?

Recently, I have become very interested in lean construction and the various lean tools that can be used within a construction project. It makes sense on many levels to use the lean approach, and it is generally a good guide or touchstone to ensure that resources are being used effectively.

For its projects M+W Group follow the basic standards and guidelines of PMBOK and would use tools such as Primavera to plan and track project progress.

What has been your most interesting project to date, and why?

I’m fortunate to work on a number of really interesting projects within the semiconductor, nuclear, life sciences and waste to energy industries. All of them have very interesting clients developing the latest products and associated factories or facilities within their fields. I’m often struck by the common challenges and issues faced across sectors that can be addressed with good project management practices.

What are the key challenges in managing a project successfully?

Sourcing and building a strong team. If you get this right from the start, it provides a strong platform for the project.

What are the key skills necessary to manage a project successfully?

Building a collaborative approach to a project, where a team of people with the right skills are given the trust to deliver  in their areas of expertise within the project. A team needs the right expertise and confidence – or at least a willingness to adapt and learn. They also need to be committed to it and motivated to overcome problems. Then as a project manager you need to listen to the team and respond to its suggestions for innovations that could make the project run more smoothly or successfully.

If somebody wanted to move from a commercial or technical role to a project management role, what advice would you give them?

I would advise them to have a chat with someone within their own company who is currently involved in project management and see if there are areas where they might be able to help out. You learn best by doing, and getting involved can be a good way to see whether you enjoy this kind of work. If there is no one within their company, they could use the Engineers Ireland network to find out what opportunities are available.

If you were to change careers tomorrow, what would you do?

I think I might have become a physiotherapist. I have a strong interest in sports, and I think it must be a rewarding day when you can help someone back to fitness.

http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Project-MGMT-Feat.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Project-MGMT-Feat-300x300.jpgDavid JacksonCivilDIT,M+W Group,project management,technology,UCD
Over the coming months, the Project Management Society will publish a series of profiles of project managers in the Engineers Journal. The aim is to explore the similarities and differences between project managers across different industries with regard to skills, challenges and methodologies. The series kicks off with a profile...