Project director, Lars Boysen, has managed some of the biggest projects in NNE and has been with the company since 1999. Here is his recipe for success as a project manager.
A strong technical background is really important
Our projects are so big and complex that I can’t be an expert on every discipline, but if you have a lot of knowledge in your own area, you have an understanding of how the other engineering disciplines work.
International projects are really challenging and interesting
I recently got home after two years in Belgium, where I managed a team with 15 different nationalities. You get to know many different people from different cultures and, especially for the young engineers, it is a huge opportunity to develop. At NNE, we work on projects all over the world.
The first project I managed after joining NNE was a large process package that was part of a major insulin facility. In my old job, it would have taken me ten years to get that kind of responsibility, but because NNE is a company in growth, you move up the ranks quickly if you perform well. Project management is a valued discipline here and obviously has a huge impact on our bottom line.
You can always improve as a project manager
You just need to find the right inspiration. I took a course in project management at Stanford University where I gained a lot of insight into the more strategic level of the discipline.
Hard work is required to create the best project environment
You need to give your team the freedom they need and gain their trust. Check in with everyone regularly, have a cup of coffee with them, and then they will let you know where there might be an issue. It’s all about detecting which members of your team could use some support and who it is that might have the resources to help them.
I have been in charge of many projects where things have been difficult and we have been pressured on time and budgets, but we have always managed to succeed in the end. Sometimes when a team is demotivated, it only takes a slight restructuring to make people believe in it again. There is no better feeling than turning things around and building up a team that just gets better and better and ending the project with a satisfied and happy customer.
The easy projects don’t interest me
I prefer the challenge of either the really large projects or the extremely complicated ones. Everyone here works with high-end technology and I can’t imagine an industry more exciting for an engineer or project manager than the complex world of life science.