Project Management

2018 PMI Project of the Year Finalist: Remade to Order

Sarah Fister Gale

McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook ordered change—and he wanted it fast. The leader of the world's second-largest restaurant chain last year gave his team less than a year to complete a massive digital overhaul that would adapt McDonald's groundbreaking quick-service dining experience to today's hyperconnected expectations.

“I have absolutely no doubt that our industry will get disrupted by technology,” he warned. “Our discussions within McDonald's are ‘Why don't we be the ones to disrupt ourselves rather than wait to be disrupted?’ You have a choice to either be the disrupter or the disrupted.”

More than 60 years after the company turned the food service industry upside down, McDonald's launched the Digital Acceleration project in January 2017. The US$155 million project developed and deployed a custom mobile ordering and payment platform to more than 20,000 restaurants in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France, mainland China and Hong Kong. The new system lets customers order meals via in-store kiosks or a mobile app and pick up their orders as soon as they arrive at the restaurant. The project team also implemented geofencing technology, which uses the GPS on a customer's mobile device to direct orders to the proper restaurant based on the customer's location. That…

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