I am a mathmatician who has been put in charge of a largeish engineering project despite my complete lack of qualifications. I will take control from the old team leader on Tuesday.
How can I be a good manager and not piss off my engineers?
details to follow
I am incharge of 7 junior engineers who pretty much can only build basic shit, 3 highly competent "old hands" who can do anything, 2 electrical engineers and one aerospace engineer.
We are building a small one-seater car.
This was my organisational plan so far, I figure I will only have to keep in regular contact with the "Heads" of the various project parts, each of whom are very competent. Does it seem ok?
You're not there to micromanage them.
Especially since you admit you are underqualified, you're not really in a position to second guess them and you already understand that they are better engineers than you. That shouldn't stop you from floating ideas out there, but don't be the PHB who suggests things beyond the realm of possibility or deadlines.
You're there to remove any impediments the engineers face when completing the project. You do all the bullshit bureaucratic administrative stuff so the engineers can focus on what matters. Do the bullshit paperwork or spend hours on the phone with your supplier getting that critical part on order for a prototype. No offense but good managers are pretty much glorified assistants to the whole team as well as advocates/organizers.
You don't. Study show that people work the best when mostly left alone. I know its probably against your very nature and instinct that says you have to manage every single thing. It's when they preform badly that you know that the manager is constantly breathing down their necks.
That depends on the personalities of the people you're managing, their professionalism, loyalty to the company, etc. Kind of something you have to suss out on an interpersonal level. But if they're professional engineers, hopefully they understand the concept of professionalism and deadlines and you don't have to nag them.
Just wondering. Is this common? When you got hired for this, was it a normal hiring process? As in, do they actually look for mathematicians or do you have any other kind of qualifications?
It is just that here, when people say that mathematicians can work in engineering, engineers all jump in to quote the consumer protection act and what not.
Oh I was hired because
1) I have a lot of engineer friends and take an interest in their projects - I spend a lot of time in the Lab working because I like chatting to the engineers
2) I am friendly - a few people recommended me for the job on the basis that they would like working under me
2) i work hard, and am known to do so (even if i dont work on engineering)
3) i am competent at finance, admin and recordkeeping - I am known to be the accountant of the college's Cookery Club and have vast amounts of selfmade notes and resources
So my hiring was because I was personally known by the engineering and physics faculty and most people had a positive opinion of me. It wasnt a serious and objective application process with a bunch of strangers
Are you talking about an academic project/hobby research?
I thought you meant a real industry job. It would explain that childish screenshot in your second post though (no offense intended, but what the fuck is that).
People in academia don't care, just have central organisational paradigm, something like central dropbox/trello board etc. to organise all tasks from.
>nobodies getting paid
so who the fuck cares?
>Working for free
>there are deadlines and the like
Do you know how to set up a Gantt chart? Just make one of those and link it to your team. They aren't going to keep to it, but it helps to have a sense of how far along a large project should be at a particular point in time.
set deadlines about 20% too early. People are great at finishing up 80% of the work right before the deadline. having some reserve there really helps
on the other hand people are terrible at estimating time requirements and the rule of thumb to get the time to completion form the initial estimate is to multiply by 2 and switch to the next higher unit of measurment (2 hours -> 4 days)
Not an engineer here but I have some management experience ...
- Give them a good understanding of the context of the project; why it is relevant for the company, how does it fit with the company priorities and strategic plan, why does it have to be now. Make sure this is clear and aligned with management / senior management before the project is officially launched!
- Give your team members clear and realistic individual objectives
- Do not tell them how to do their work but be available if they need help to make decisions. Don't get too technical but provide help by bringing in the equation considerations of timelines, risks, additional constraints, etc. Make sure you know in advance if they will need additional support (peer review, advice on a difficult problem for example).
- Never hesitate to give positive feedback. Be honest, natural and genuine. Let their manager know if they do good things!
- Don't take responsibility for everything. Let your team members know what you want them to validate with you or others. Make sure they feel empowered.
- schedule regular team meetings so they can let you know if they are progressing according to plan. Don't try to resolve technical problems there.
- communicate with project sponsor and other interested parties to let them know how things are going and if there are things that need to be resolved or any decisions that need to be made at their level
- make sure the project is broken down in key deliverables, each with their own immovable deadline. Team members should provide you with their detailed, short-term plan to reach these milestones
- Make sure you plan time for unexpected issues, especially if your team is inexperienced
- if you receive too many questions, schedule individual weekly meetings so they can focus their questions there. You can also block one hour every other day and let them know you will be available for them. You want to make sure you still have time for your project management tasks.
Your job should probably be focused moreso on getting the PDR and CDR together, and keeping track of whatever other bureaucratic stuff needs to be done.
I've never actually done an FSAE, so i'm not sure what the presentations are like for that, but PDR CDR and post-competition presentation seem to be pretty standard for college engineering projects, and I know that's usually a big focus for non-engineering majors who get stuck in a management roll for these kinds projects.
>for working for free
>while in college
This tells it all. You are probably the faggot who thought
>lol internships are dumb!
>lol participating in professional contests is dumb!
>lol I just wanna party amirite?
And now you are asking why your first salary is 40k, while your friend who did that sweet internship and won that prize got 100k starting.
Seriously fuck, you are retarded. Swallow that poverty shaped dick, you wagecuck.
> not getting a stipend for all of the projects that you don't earn credits for
I've done something like this before, much more lame than FSAE even, and the school still cut us a check.
Nice for you man but still, even if you are not getting paid, getting any kind of recognition and experience while in college is worth it.
As a student you have the time anyways, time you won't have after you get a job. And your starting salary won't ever increase as much as you wish it did so you better start high or drown forever.
Let me make a conversation for you
You: Can you give me a general idea of whats been happening this past week?
Engineer: The fleebs are nearing completion, but we need ome more grent cycle before implementing hossey.
You: So let me get this straight, you need one more.grent cycle, but.other.than that they are nearing completion
Do.NOT let the engineers know you know nothing about what theyre doing
Do let the engineers tell you all about what they are doing, seem.interested and ask leading questions based on the parts you do understand
Im a genius IQ writer hs dropout but my dad is an engineer, as was his father and grandfather
Good luck.pointy haired boss
Your wrong on all points except for the second on.
I think an unpaid internship is better than nothing, but you should aim to get a paid internship which isn't that difficult to get.
I did an unpaid internship at 19 and ended up regretting it because I didn't learn anything, my second internship at 21 was paid work a large R&D lab, it was both more satisfying because money and more valuable for experience although I still didn't learn anything and ended up teaching the PI about modern simulation more than he taught me anything.
As for contests, yes they are stupid because:
> It doesn't allow you to build networks as well as internships do.
> It's unpaid work.
> It's not nearly as valuable on your CV as an internship at a good company. (though still far better than nothing)
> You could be spending that time looking for work or studying something new.
> Usually your team is inexperienced and more annoying than professional.
> It's unpaid work.
> You fucking cuck.
We are talking about internships for fucks sake. If you are an engineer, you will be a fucking kid with an incomplete education, working alongside professionals. You are there from the experience.
>but you should aim to get a paid internship
Well, that is obvious. Just don't pass an opportunity like an unpaid one.
I have never been in a contest so I wouldn't know the experience. However, if you win a big national one that should be significant.
I don't know man, I'm doing an unpaid internship right now at a small software company. I code for maybe 2 - 3 hours since the work is trivial and spend the rest watching anime. And every day they buy me pizza.
Nah, let me let you in on a little secret. We have a sixth sense about whether the person we're talking undestands them or not. If I actually made progress on a project I would just say "I'm roughly 80% done, I'd estimate completion time X weeks". If I've been a lazy sod or just don't feel like talking and want the conversation to end I use more technical words so they can't follow my progress.
That's why being under a real engineering manager sucks, you can't really bullshit people who are smarter and more senior than you.
>Just don't pass an opportunity like an unpaid one.
Honestly if I could go back to the summer of my second year I would.
It was exhausting and the subsequent semester I burned out from depression resulting in me actually failing two classes. If I only did my second paid one I'd be much better off (and contrary to popular belief it's not difficult to get paid internships; I got them and I have failed courses on my transcript)
> I code for maybe 2 - 3 hours since the work is trivial and spend the rest watching anime.
I guess we different work ethics. If I commit to something I put everything in to it, I would never be able to watch anime at the office. I even missed my first few days of classes in my third year because I wanted to finish up installation and documentation on the new heat cycle I designed (for free). Sure I got a great recommendation out of it from a locally famous engineer and business owner, but there are easier ways to get six figure starting offers. And at the end of the day it's just 2-4 lines on your CV.
I will never be cucked like that again.
My second internship I didn't really have much choice, we actually had a shitton of work to do, when I wasn't coding I was loading pilot plant reactants, I put in my 8 hours every day. The project was far more stimulating and I was paid so it wasn't a soul crushing drain. I actually came out feeling very refreshed and it inspired me to do grad-school.
>every day they buy me pizza.
If you were failing classes, a sign that you cannot keep up with school and work, then why not just get out? I think the reason you see it as bad is because of the bad experience you had with failing your classes and yeah, you should have not accepted the unpaid internship like that.
> If I commit to something I put everything in to it
I wouldn't say that I don't, it is just that there is just not enough to do for me to be working the entire day. They give me a list of tasks, I do them. Report them to the manager and then I go back and do whatever to entertain myself. If they come with another task for the day then I do it too.
There is no way that as an intern, you had same workload as a full time worker. And if you did then that company was certainly screwing you over. There is no excuse for that.
I'm young, man. I'm not even in my 20s yet. I can eat whatever I want for now. I will worry about that later.
However, the boss here (who surprisingly also codes, I thought he didn't but when I went to his office he actually was doing just that) is kinda... really fat. At least I know that I don't want to end up like that but I am a skeleton. If my weight ever starts to get out of control then I will reconsider eating junk food, but for now I will enjoy it.