4 Ways Digital Transformation Is Changing Project Management

Remember the good old days when making it a “Blockbuster night” was the thing to do? Nothing beat the feeling of walking through those doors to eagerly scan the new release wall before perusing aisle after aisle of classic, obscure, and off-the-wall films… that is, nothing except having on-demand access to practically every movie ever made without having to leave the comfort of your couch.

Of course, the colossal fall of Blockbuster is just one example of “digital Darwinism” — and a stark reminder of the consequences that can befall a company that rejects digital transformation. 

Digital transformation defined

At its core, digital transformation is “the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers.” While this seems like a straightforward concept, the “transformation” part is critical. A full-scale digital transformation can cause major disruptions in long-standing business practices and operations, and often necessitates cultural changes within a company as well. 

While there are plenty of businesses that failed to embrace a digital transformation strategy and paid the ultimate price à la Blockbuster, there are just as many successful digital transformation examples worth studying. A few standouts:

  • Back in 2012, Best Buy seemed to be on its deathbed. But a seven-year digital transformation process brought the retail giant back to life — and boosted its stock a whopping 198%.
  • In December 2017, Home Depot committed more than $11 billion to a three-year digital transformation plan. Since then, its stock has jumped 59%, and revenues have increased by nearly $17 billion.
  • Microsoft began its digital transformation in 2014 with the installation of a new CEO. In the five years since, Microsoft’s stock has increased an eye-popping 258%. And earlier this year, the company became just the third to get a $1 trillion market cap.

Clearly, companies wanting to remain competitive in the digital age and beyond are investing heavily into process automation and workflow technology — and transforming the role of the project manager in the process. 

Digital transformation and project management

While a digital transformation strategy starts in the C-suite, the execution is where the rubber meets the road, and where project managers must take the wheel. As the executive muscle of any organization, project managers are responsible for implementing senior leadership’s vision and deploying the company’s new digital capabilities.

From a PM perspective, digital transformation isn’t something to be feared. Yes, it will take time, effort, and a bit of disruption. But it will also empower you as a project manager to better manage team members, more efficiently deliver projects, and, ultimately, better serve your company’s customers and clients. 

So how exactly is digital transformation changing the way project managers perform their jobs? Let’s take a closer look!

4 ways digital transformation is changing project management

1. More efficient and strategic communication among teams and companies

One of the biggest areas in which modern digital technology is redefining project management is cross-team communication.

Traditional tools like email are cumbersome when it comes to collaboration, as they aren’t designed for real-time dialogue. Important information is easily buried within endless email chains, and constant email overload tanks productivity

Collaborative work management software, on the other hand, allows team members and co-workers across departments to engage, connect, and interact in real time, significantly cutting down on email clutter and saving loads of time in the process. But more than just increasing the efficiency of intra-work communication, these technologies are improving its effectiveness as well. 

When team members are freed from filtering through hundreds of emails a day just to keep up with a project’s status, they’re able to spend more time talking project strategy — which is precisely where you want the bulk of your team’s conversation focused. 

2. More collaboration within teams and ownership from team members

Along with facilitating more efficient, strategy-focused communication, modern work management technologies are making it easier for teams to truly collaborate. With the right platform in place, executives, project managers, and team members can add comments, assign tasks, organize dashboards, proof and approve assets, and handle just about everything else related to the project all in one convenient solution. 

This deep level of collaboration inevitably leads to a greater sense of shared ownership from teammates and helps foster a cooperative, synergistic environment. And that, as they say, is where the magic happens. Workers who feel they are part of a collaborative effort have been shown to have greater engagement, lower fatigue, and higher success rates than those who are isolated from peers. In fact, the same study found that the collaborators persisted at tasks 64% longer!

3. More focus on results rather than process

As digital transformation automates workflows and coordinates traditional project management tasks like scheduling, PMs are getting more time to focus on strategy optimization and project delivery. In fact, the PMI predicts that as digital transformation continues to touch companies across every industry and vertical, project managers will be viewed more as strategic leaders in their organizations:

With more digital tools and automated processes at their disposal, project managers are homing in on the best ways to align each project with their business’ strategies and goals — and delivering more successful outcomes in the process. 

4. More analytics for improved PM processes, outcomes, and ROI

Finally, digital transformation is providing PMs the analytical technology to make data-driven decisions, break down patterns and trends, and ultimately enhance project outcomes and success rates. This access to deep data also assists executives and managers in making better-informed decisions faster and easier than ever before. 

Robust analytic reports help managers keep projects on track and on budget with real-time cost and labor analyses. In-depth data sets can also be easily broken down for stakeholders and executives, giving them precise insight into business impact and ROI on every project and helping them plan future initiatives and make critical strategic decisions.

Is your operation ready for a digital transformation?

As technology continues to advance at exponential rates, organizations must adapt to the digital landscape or risk getting left in the dust. Change isn’t always easy, but when it comes to the success of your projects, your team members, and your company, a little self-imposed disruption is worth it in the long haul. 

Remember:

  • Companies that implement a digital transformation strategy have been shown to increase performance and revenues.
  • As a project manager, digital transformation helps streamline communication, improve collaboration, and shift your focus from project process and status to strategy and outcomes. 
  • Digital transformation allows team members to spend more time working in their creative wheelhouses, resulting in happier, more fulfilled, more productive employees. 

To learn more about how your organization can embrace digital transformation to become more nimble and adaptable, download our free ebook “Embracing the Agile Movement: Strategies to Keep Pace in the Post-Digital Era.”

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