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Topics: Agile, Information Technology, PMO
What does digitalization mean for project management?
I often hear that digitalization (or digitization) is of growing importance for project management. But what does that mean exactly? Do you have specific examples from your projects?
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Through digitization, project teams have never been faster or more efficient at sharing and utilizing incorrect data. Where it once took hours for a dropped minus sign (-) or improper variable to propagate through multiple layers of calculations turning losses into profits, now it can be done with the click of a mouse. Rumors can spread through organizations at lightning speed, and every employee in the entire company can know that “No I did not find your car keys.” by simply selecting Reply to All.
Dec 17, 2019 8:29 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
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Some people is putting great answers here. In my first post I had the intention to take this path. Unfortunatelly in times where new buzzwords are created, like Digital Transformation, Digitalization or Digitization is used as a synonim of that buzzword. But the term is there from long time ago as people wrote as a mean to make digital lot of information, not to make the process digital. Just is the only comment I´d like to do to avoid confusion because it is critical to put this terms clear. When you face this type of initiatives like I faced from years it could make the difference between fail or not.
Dear Sergio,
Thank you for your answer. I also believe that this is a key to understanding the discussion. The digitization we are talking about today goes far beyond the digitization of information. As Abolfazl Yousefi Darestani mentions in his previous post, there is a wide range from electronic documents to the use of AI.
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1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Dec 18, 2019 8:53 AM
Sergio Luis Conte
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You are welcome. Unfortunatelly for people like me that are working with this topics from long time ago when buzzwords come to the field it jeopardize the work. I have to spend time explaining what the terms means because the same people that ask me for help have a totally different meaning starting because "they buy" things then they create their own expectative too far from reality.
Dec 18, 2019 8:47 AM
Replying to Michael Ryba
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Dear Sergio,
Thank you for your answer. I also believe that this is a key to understanding the discussion. The digitization we are talking about today goes far beyond the digitization of information. As Abolfazl Yousefi Darestani mentions in his previous post, there is a wide range from electronic documents to the use of AI.
You are welcome. Unfortunatelly for people like me that are working with this topics from long time ago when buzzwords come to the field it jeopardize the work. I have to spend time explaining what the terms means because the same people that ask me for help have a totally different meaning starting because "they buy" things then they create their own expectative too far from reality.
Dec 17, 2019 6:10 AM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
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Digitalization started long ago with using computers for calculations, automatization, and other tools. Think schedules, estimates, resource leveling that were digitalized 60 years ago. PPM added portfolio selection and transparency, dashboards to enhance analysis and presentation. Also looking at the human, collaboration side, after phone and email came instant messaging, videoconferencing, collaboration tools, knowledge bases, which enabled asset reuse on a global level, virtual teams and follow the sun development.

We are now observing digital twins emerging, what PMBoK calls configuration management systems, the construction industry calls it BIM, it includes 3D data, but also schedule, cost and operations information. All in one place.

Also, regarding stakeholder engagement, group video analysis of emotions enhance digital empathy, similar to social media analysis, and increase options to influence people.

And with 8 billion people connected in 2030, we are a powerful hive of humans, enabled by digital infrastructure.
Dear Thomas,
Thank you for your answer. Mentioning the digital twin is particularly interesting to me. The use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the construction industry may come close to a digital twin, at least for modeling the product. But do we really have real digital twins of a project that also map its dynamics?
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1 reply by Thomas Walenta
Dec 21, 2019 3:22 AM
Thomas Walenta
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Michael,
do we have digital twins that cover the dynamics of the system (building)?
I a way, yes, the dynamics of a building lay in its schedule to plan, design and build it (thats 4D) and it its monitoring and maintenance when it is used (7D). It extends beyond that to 8D with predictive lifecycle regarding accident prevention.

Once you have a digital twin of anything in it's defining data, over time, it is a matter of time and expected benefits to use it for simulations and predictions. Working at Bosch and in automotive, you must have an idea how this may play out?
Michael
my opinion is just from observing, not own practice.
Yes, I see BIM as the first implementation of a full digital image of a product, as it includes schedule, cost data with 5D and maintenance and operating data with 7D.
As for project management terms, I would say it us a configuration mgmt tool.
Think automotive is also advanced, if tools like Doors and Rational are consequently used to develop a car, but I think the operations part is missing (correct me if I am wrong).
Are you talking change or transformation?

If the digitalization/digitization efforts are just a lift and shift to doing the same things, maybe in a little bit different way, using newer, better, faster technology, this is really nothing new for project managers. I'm not saying it's easy or not complex, but such is life for project managers.

If you're leading the establishment of new business models, changing the culture, and leveraging new technologies, this is transformational and goes beyond the everyday life of a PM.

Examples... I've led multiple projects where we took business teams from paper, Excel, and Access into distributed tools that enabled collaboration and introducing logic and automation of formerly manual tasks. There are new tools in use, today, but the overall project isn't that different from similar efforts at a different company 15 years ago. Processes still need to be understood and data migrations still suck.

I find that these changes, improvements in operational efficiencies, if done right, are foundational to transforming. There are core capabilities that you need to be able to transform, and digitalization/digitization that enables business agility is part of the mix that can make it possible.
Dec 18, 2019 8:56 AM
Replying to Michael Ryba
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Dear Thomas,
Thank you for your answer. Mentioning the digital twin is particularly interesting to me. The use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the construction industry may come close to a digital twin, at least for modeling the product. But do we really have real digital twins of a project that also map its dynamics?
Michael,
do we have digital twins that cover the dynamics of the system (building)?
I a way, yes, the dynamics of a building lay in its schedule to plan, design and build it (thats 4D) and it its monitoring and maintenance when it is used (7D). It extends beyond that to 8D with predictive lifecycle regarding accident prevention.

Once you have a digital twin of anything in it's defining data, over time, it is a matter of time and expected benefits to use it for simulations and predictions. Working at Bosch and in automotive, you must have an idea how this may play out?
For me using technology to improve effectiveness and efficiency. it could be any technology.
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