For engineering students, team work implies resorting to numerous soft skills which aim to enhance the project’s technical performance, to improve the results and the collaboration within the group.
Project management is at the heart of ESILV’s educational approach. Throughout the five year course, engineering students “learn by doing”.
The academic staff members supervising projects led by students teach both technical and behavioural techniques.
First, the PRM or Project Roadmap Manager offers a technical and methodological support. Then, soft skills acquisition is taught by specialists appointed by Pôle Léonard de Vinci’s Soft Skills Department.
Soft skills process at ESILV is meant for students from year 1 to 5, with a specific emphasis on projects led by second and fourth-year students. Soft skills are taught in each school of Pôle Léonard de Vinci, ESILV, Business School EMLV and Digital and Internet School IIM, a one-of-a-kind approach in French higher education.
Behavioural skills for student project managers
The main objective of a soft skills programme is to teach engineering students behavioural skills that will make project management easier, during their studies but also once they start their professional lives.
To reach this goal, the academic staff organizes workshops from the conceptualisation of the project until its release, hosted by soft skills specialists. Students have access to tools such as the MBTI and other documents related to the acquisition of these know-hows.
What are the soft skills to master for project management, to strengthen a team and make it more efficient?
Analysing the team’s evolution
Student engineers must develop their capacity to analyse the team’s evolution at each step of the project (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing) and find solutions accordingly if problems emerge.
Identifiying the strengths
Who is in charge of which task and why? Being able to identify the specific skills of each member on the team and bringing them out in the project is a great way to succeed. Skill complementarity is the key.
Using the behavioural skills leading to success
Some of the behavioural skills to develop in a team include:
- listening to all team members
- expressing oneself and giving opinions, even if they differ from the majority’s
- expressing helpful criticism without offending team members
- accepting criticism
- accepting criticism even when it is felt as unjustified
- being able to resolve conflicts
Looking back on a project
At the end of a project, engineering students must be able to analyse it retrospectively (“post-mortem analysis”, “reflexivity”). The objective is to identify the winning attitudes and the mistakes to avoid, in a perspective of experience and continuous improvement.