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Going from production to managment

Going from production to managment

Going from production to managment

So after years of working through the trenches, in 4 different engineering firms over 11 years. I finally made it to an assistant department head for the mechanical department doing HVAC design. I am still in the trial period picking up additional responsibilities as I transition out of design. Currently I have 4 designers/engineers and 1 intern under me, that I am tasked with teaching
What I am wondering is if there are any good books I can read up on, tips, or other recommendations to help me? Last time I lead a team, it was out in the field, and 20 years ago. Since the main department head is in a different state, I am pretty much out here on my own. Thankfully I can reach out to other offices when I need help
Also what does everyone use to keep track of task?
Lastly, i will be needing to set a new 5 year goal. My company is around 600 people with multiple offices around the US. Any idea on what would be a reasonable goal to look at achieving

RE: Going from production to managment


Also what does everyone use to keep track of task?

Outlook has a rudimentary task tracker; otherwise, there's MS Project


Any idea on what would be a reasonable goal to look at achieving

It seems to me that only you can answer this question; what do you see yourself doing 5 years from now? I can only presume that since you are on this track, you'd be looking to move up the ranks

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Going from production to managment

Try Microsoft Planner. It might be suitable.
5 year goal. That is up to you.
Be the Department Head
Be the Department Head's boss.
Maybe its something more like, build reputation and expertise in the firm to be the go to guy for HVAC design

"Any water can be made potable if you filter it through enough money"

RE: Going from production to managment

For reading material, I would recommend any text on lean or agile design. For tracking your individual tasks, I would do whatever works best for you regardless if its a whiteboard, OneNote, or a formal MSProject plan. Personally, I dont like to overcomplicate so defer to OneNote lists as I can easily edit, add images, and access from anywhere on any device.

My best bit of advice is to become comfortable managing/trusting and avoid the biggest, most common engineering management mistake - micromanaging the design. You said it yourself, you are transitioning OUT of design and into management, therefore you need to let the design engineers design and focus on enabling their design work. Project/company dependent that might mean you sit in on a weekly review or it might be a month or more between reviews unless an emergency need arises otherwise. Challenge them to prove their designs work in reviews, but unless your engineering help is requested on something your senior subordinates cant cover, let them work and develop the design. My best supervisor saw me maybe 2-3 hours total most months, one hour one-on-one plus monthly project reviews otherwise. Otherwise he was behind the scenes ready to flex his title when requested and planning future projects. Your primary focus should be on the process and resources your team has available. Do they need training, better access to design standards or CAD tools, more/faster customer feedback, more budget/time to develop/test, etc? Enabling some things like more training will be a perpetual ask/struggle bc its sunk cost. Other improvements like improving customer feedback/direction or improving quoting should be easier bc they're small tweaks to necessary tasks. Regardless, remember you need to both enable and trust your team first and foremost. Manage, not engineer.

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