Don’t look for beautiful, complex, or new — look for the simplest and most reliable tool to do the job effectively
Today’s automation projects must demonstrate significant productivity gains faster than ever. Consequently, modern automation project managers need to showcase a wide range of skills: from hands-on, technical expertise to organizational and communication skills, and the ability to motivate and lead others effectively.
The purpose of this article is to give automation project managers a set of practical tools they can apply to their own projects.
The Automation Project Manager’s Success Sheet
Start with why: Understanding the driver behind any specific project arms you with a powerful decision-making tool throughout all project stages.
Define the project: What’s the need the project aims to answer and how does it aim to answer it? Get everyone on the team to agree on the project’s objectives beforehand. Keep in mind that even though this is only a starting point, it is quite necessary to create alignment within the team. Make sure you’re clear on what you’ll track and measure to show the return and value gained by the project.
Define specifications: The goal is to develop a technical specification document that lays out the design parameters, factory acceptance criteria, and performance expectations. This document should include the following sections: General project information, performance specifications, machine definition, acceptance criteria, and project management related subsections such as warranty, terms, and transportation.
Minimize risk: The more detailed you are during the project, the less the room for error. Make sure you factor in all parameters — including potential training costs, update costs, and other pros and cons unique to each technology. Create a Gantt chart to keep objectives clear to the entire as the project moves towards completion.
Keep it simple: It’s easy to get carried away and lose sight of the end goal: get the job done better. Don’t look for beautiful, complex, or new. Always look for the simplest and most reliable tool to do the job effectively. This might mean that you’d be best served by updating existing technology, rather than investing in something new.
1. Automationworld (2017): Factory & Machine Automation Playbook