Technical Program Abstracts

(DEV) Professional Development

(DEV-2431) Harnessing Leadership Skills in Project Management

Authors: Biju Jacob

Abstract: In today’s complex, technologically oriented and highly competitive environment it is imperative that the project manager has developed and perfected his management skills to ensure effective performance in managing projects.  Previous studies show that traditional project management methods developed over the last century are inadequate for dealing with the ever-increasing levels of ambiguity and complexity experienced in modern-day construction projects.

This paper will discuss new perspectives and concepts for an advanced level of project management skills to assist development of the abilities necessary to overcome the daily complexities and challenges that now confront Project managers. 

One key skill that all successful Project managers need to master is the ability to attune their temporal skills such as communication, teamwork, motivating and decision making.  Other essential key skills include honing Client relationships, adaptability to change initiative, corporate culture and matrix management.  Additionally, developing new concepts like Shared Leadership Concept and Tribal leadership Culture will harness a Manager’s abilities and will assist in overcoming present levels of difficulty and crisis encountered in the current project management environment.

 

(DEV-2502) 3 Practical Soft skills for Transforming Project Controls Application

Authors: Rohit Singh

Abstract: This article is a continuance from the author’s 2005 AACE Transaction (“The missing soft skills for Project Controls”) in which he talked about skills in writing, speaking and goal setting (Basic and Experiential Learning.   This paper, which is an extension, is viewed through the landscape of an EPCM project, in which the author’s role was that of a change agent.

His findings from this assignment demonstrated that the top three soft skills that ensured success of the project scope were Communication, Motivation and Negotiation. The organization had experienced very little change in its approach and its application to its project management practices.  The scope of the project required the implementation of an enhanced project management department and the integration of cost and schedule with accounting procedures.  The top three soft skills that were pivotal for success of this endeavour following on the heels of two unsuccessful projects were communications, motivation and negotiation.   Communicating effectively was critical so as to ensure that the expected outcome from all departments was aligned and met the requirements of all stakeholders.  How inter and intra-departmental negotiating engagement worked resulting in practicable win-win outcomes.   Delivering and presenting accurate information through formal teaching and at meetings resulted in better decisions.

This paper also, incorporated ideas from Carson and Kelly (AACE Cost Engineering, 2015) paper entitled “Soft skills are vital for effective project controls” the Carson and Kelly’s article broke soft skills down into three areas; Communication, Motivation and Negotiation.

 

(DEV-2541) Recruiting, Managing, and Retaining the Millennial Generation in Project Controls

Authors: Daniel P. Gilmour, PSP; Andrew D. Corson

Abstract: The project controls profession is facing a generational reckoning – as the bulk of the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement, how do we adapt to the newest generation entering the profession and pivot toward their success?  This is a dilemma facing organizations across the industry and truly elevates questions about the future of the profession. In order to understand the millennial cohort, this paper examines research on generational differences, sheds light on the socioeconomic factors that produced the archetypal millennial, debunks well-worn generalizations, and delves into the typical strengths of millennials. Focusing on structured processes centered on frequent feedback, team-driven environments, and the creation of performance scoreboards, this presentation contemplates strategies for getting the most out of, and retaining, millennial employees. Finally, this paper analyzes millennials as managers themselves, providing a view of what is to come in the industry.

 

(DEV-2652) Humans are the New Assets - ISO 55000: Attracting and Retaining Skilled Workers

Authors: Ron Gavrin

Abstract: The new ISO 55000 Asset Management standards have expanded the concept of assets to include human resources. But is industry really prepared to make informed decisions on human resource programs, as they do for physical assets?  In fact, does industry have adequate tools to evaluate the benefits of Human Resources initiatives?

This paper provides a case study of human resources initiatives that were introduced in a large utility to mitigate the effects of its ageing workforce, including mentoring, rejuvenation hiring, procedures updating and training efforts. Does industry typically implement HR strategy piecemeal, in individual initiatives?

The impacts of such HR programs often cannot be evaluated using ordinary engineering economics analysis. However some tried and tested approaches, both quantitative and qualitative, might provide some insight into HR program valuation.

 

(DEV-2703) (Panel Discussion) Attracting, Growing and Retaining Resources In Project Controls

Authors: Varatharajan Ananthalakshminarayanan; Matthew Evans

Abstract: Using their fresh perspective, the current and past Chairs of AACEs Rising Professionals Committee (RPC), explore the question of why a new employee would be attracted to the field of Cost Engineering and Project Controls, and the key lessons they have learned in their early years in this professional field.  Further, the authors offer sound advice for both attracting young professionals into the Cost Engineering discipline, as well as tips for more experienced professionals in guiding and better connecting with these new entrants, in this largely experience-driven field.  Combining a diverse range of project experiences in both the construction and energy industries, the authors investigate this unique challenge facing the cost engineering profession as a whole and how AACE International is poised to help.  Special emphasis is offered regarding career development and educational opportunities available through AACE technical, education and certification products.

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