Tecnoseal Answers - How to Choose the Right Person
For the last Tecnoseal Answers and article before the August summer break, we have chosen to talk about a professional figure to say the least vital for any type of boat: the project manager. However, rather than throwing ourselves into detailed and subjective analyzes, we have decided to deal with what are the five fundamental characteristics that must be evaluated when choosing a Project Manager. It will be a very generic speech that can be adapted to any situation in which we will find ourselves having to choose one professional figure rather than another.
Before we start, I remind you that at the following link you can find a thematic index of all the Tecnoseal Answers released until today.
Chi è il Project Manager?
Let's start by defining who is the Project Manager. This is obviously a figure with great responsibilities that acts as a bridge between shipyard and customer. His goal is to ensure that the shipyard is able to achieve the customer's idea in the best possible way. To do this he must have extensive knowledge of architecture, engineering and shipbuilding and must work together with certified engineers, naval architects and interior designers with proven skills. Whether it's a project from scratch or a refit, a Project Manager is a key figure as it helps a captain or owner experience the development of a yacht in a more relaxed way.
The first fundamental characteristic of a good Project Manager is that he is present from even before the drafting of the project, to which he will have to work, begins. Whether it is a refit or a new project, the captain/owner will do well to contact a project manager first thing, in order to explain his idea to him. In the case of a refit, however, it is a good idea to have him try the boat in the water before it is brought to land. In this way the Project Manager will be able to evaluate, through a specific study, all the factors that will have to be evaluated and in which order they must be carried out. Issues such as: the choice of the shipyard, the availability of the yacht and the structures, which interventions have priority, which regulations will be kept in mind, which propulsion system is indicated and so on. It is easier to tackle such a complex job if a professional figure has provided, from the beginning, to give us a precise order of what should be done and with what priority.
The Single and the Team
The second key feature is the degree of knowledge of the sector and the type of boat. Nothing prevents you from using a young and inexperienced Project Manager, indeed, sometimes some of these professional figures, fresh from studies, manage to have revolutionary ideas and solutions that otherwise would never have come to mind. However it is good to always inquire about the past jobs of that Project Manager, whether they are theoretical or practical, to verify that they are in line with your idea. If you want a good sailing superyacht, contacting a Project Manager who has only worked on motoryachts up to that point may not be the best solution, especially if, first of all, you don't have much experience in the world of sailing.
The third key feature is to have a good team of experts behind. A good Project Manager usually doesn't know everything, but knows who to call in case of need. A dense network of experts with certified experience can help solve any type of situation quickly and painlessly. Once again, the task of a Project Manager is not to carry out the project, but to assist the Captain/Shipowner and the shipyard in doing so. When talking about building a boat, you never know for sure which unexpected situation you will have to face. A good Project Manager, however, will always have a reference figure to address to you to resolve the unexpected. This figure can be internal (as a Project Manager collaborator) or external (as a company like is Tecnoseal for Cathodic Protection).
The Importance of Location
The fourth fundamental characteristic is actually a direct consequence of the previous ones, that is the ability to choose the shipyard suitable for the project you want to carry out. Not all shipyards are the same: there are those specializing in sailing boats, those that mainly develop explorer yachts and those that cannot build boats that are too large. A superyacht can only be built using specific structures and the same also applies to simple lengthening of the hull. In addition, many other factors must also be taken into account, such as: the time required to carry out the work, the availability of the various shipyards and their cost. A good Project Manager must know how to evaluate the best choice and must also manage relations with the shipyard itself because he is professionally more qualified to do so than a captain/owner.
Lastly, the fifth and final key feature is obviously the location where the Project Manager resides. Certainly the advent of the internet and social networks helps a lot to smooth the distances and, nowadays, it is possible to maintain a constant contact even with very distant professional figures. However it is always a good idea that the Project Managaer is easily reachable and if he can "judge for himself" the situation, he will probably also be able to work better. Lastly, it should be considered that, often, the region of residence of a Project Manager will help to get an idea of his competences and specializations. It is not a mystery that some nations (Holland, Italy, Germany, etc) are more developed in some specific sectors of boating, this does not mean that a Project Manager originating from these countries is automatically better, but he will certainly have had more opportunities to apply his studies in practice.
In conclusion, the choice of a good Project Manager may seem easy to implement, but in reality it is a very complex issue that must take into account many different subjective factors. There is no absolute table of what a good Project Manager must have, but the choice must be based ESPECIALLY on what is the boat that you want to build/refit. If you have clear ideas, then choosing the right professional will not be difficult, but at that point you will also need to have the right confidence in your choice. A Project Manager does this work and if, after hiring him, you continue to oppose his advice and decisions, taking on matters and duties on which you often have only partial competence, then you will not get any advantage from having a similar figure next to you.
And on closer inspection this is a speech that can be done for any technical area. In yachting there is a worrying tendency to believe that, if you have practical experience at sea, then you know everything. There is nothing more wrong or risky. Of course, maybe once, by chance, something worked for you in a certain way, but you're sure to want to put something precious as a boat at risk for a popular voice and/or a possible fluke? Next time you might not be so lucky and expert advice can help you clarify your ideas and enjoy your yacht in peace. What does it cost more? A little advice or a boat that doesn't work?
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