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Topics: Agile, Benefits Realization, Digital Project Management
Project manager in the digital future
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The future is digital.. and it is here. In the last few years this trend towards digital disruption has accelerated. In order to maintain relevance, businesses must encourage innovation and agility. The generation of business value requires agility innovative thinking and innovative action. With SMACT ( Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and the things) there is vast amount of data that is generated and consumed. Does this mean there a shift in the way we build solutions ? Is it time to rethink project management ? What role would a project manager play in the digital future ?
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All these stuff are new buzzwords. It is not true that the future is digital. Digital is there from 1990 and before. Form 1986 the key was thinking on organizational architecture mainly creating a business layer that was be able to accept multiple interfaces to access the business functions. And about data, the key is understanding all related to data warehouse environments. So, the future is not digital. The future and the present is to have the organization ready to accept any type of change and to create change which is the basement of Agile definition created in 1990 inside the USA DoD NSF/Agility Forum. How the project manger will survive? In the same way as today: making abstractions, focused in project management activities, taking knowledge without trying to be a subject matter expert on a technical/business field.
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2 replies by Graeme Bond and Priya Patra
Sep 29, 2017 10:28 AM
Priya Patra
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Thank you Sergio for your response. I agree with your view on sticking to the basics of project management. I also see that that to survive Project managers need to apply agile principles and have some amount of technical and domain knowledge, not necessarily be an expert. Are we saying we will have SMEs who will provide the business and technical solution ?
Oct 09, 2017 7:29 AM
Graeme Bond
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Sergio is right!

Priya has embraced all the current fad gibberish.

Digital computers emerged from the 1940s and digital data communications has been around almost as long.

What has happened is simply that (digital) computers have got faster, cheaper and smaller and (digital) data communications has got faster and cheaper with better mediums such as fibre and wireless.

This has simply enabled new business models (where the disruption comes in) and use of (digital) computing and data transmission in previously uneconomic or even infeasible applications.

Its called technological progress.

The Project Manager will manage new types of Information Technology and Data Communications Projects involving Digital Technology as they have since the 1950s. They will have the same concerns as they have always have and newer, improved techniques will emerge. Along with a lot of snake-oil.
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I do not think we need to rethink project management, as the project management processes are still valid. However, projects with digital transformation scope need to apply an E2E transformation view and consider different layers from technical network up to the application UX layer, supported by Organisational Change Management Consulting and Expertise. Big portion of this kind of projects covers use case driven development with a need to apply agile practices.
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1 reply by Priya Patra
Sep 29, 2017 11:32 PM
Priya Patra
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Thank you Peter for your response. I am glad we all think Project management is ever green. Having said that how can we leverage digital for project managers to ensure that the projects we drive, we execute are delivered with quality and value ?
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Priya -

Project management discipline remains evergreen, but the constraints and forces which PMs have to deal with will always evolve. What this means is that we need to mature our ability to handle more complex projects under tighter time constraints and spend some effort in learning how to best leverage advances in technology and disruption of existing business models to help our projects succeed.

Kiron
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1 reply by Priya Patra
Sep 29, 2017 9:51 AM
Priya Patra
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Thank you Kiron for your response. What according to you needs to change to mature our ability to handle complex projects with speed and quality ? One you have already mentioned in your response about learning how to best leverage technology. Is there anything else that we as Project managers should do now in the era of disruption ?
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Sep 29, 2017 8:39 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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Priya -

Project management discipline remains evergreen, but the constraints and forces which PMs have to deal with will always evolve. What this means is that we need to mature our ability to handle more complex projects under tighter time constraints and spend some effort in learning how to best leverage advances in technology and disruption of existing business models to help our projects succeed.

Kiron
Thank you Kiron for your response. What according to you needs to change to mature our ability to handle complex projects with speed and quality ? One you have already mentioned in your response about learning how to best leverage technology. Is there anything else that we as Project managers should do now in the era of disruption ?
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Priya -

Truly embracing the concept of change as a constant and helping our team members to get comfortable with that. Many PMs I deal with say they have a high degree of change appetite but their actions don't reflect that.

It's also critical for PMs to fully understand the underlying business rationale for their projects and to be aware of influences which could impact that rationale.

I also believe that there's a need to scale practices to effectively deal with higher levels of complexity. A good example is risk management - there was an interesting article in the August/September 2017 issue of PM Journal on "The Nature of Risk in Complex Projects".

Kiron
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Sep 29, 2017 5:04 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
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All these stuff are new buzzwords. It is not true that the future is digital. Digital is there from 1990 and before. Form 1986 the key was thinking on organizational architecture mainly creating a business layer that was be able to accept multiple interfaces to access the business functions. And about data, the key is understanding all related to data warehouse environments. So, the future is not digital. The future and the present is to have the organization ready to accept any type of change and to create change which is the basement of Agile definition created in 1990 inside the USA DoD NSF/Agility Forum. How the project manger will survive? In the same way as today: making abstractions, focused in project management activities, taking knowledge without trying to be a subject matter expert on a technical/business field.
Thank you Sergio for your response. I agree with your view on sticking to the basics of project management. I also see that that to survive Project managers need to apply agile principles and have some amount of technical and domain knowledge, not necessarily be an expert. Are we saying we will have SMEs who will provide the business and technical solution ?
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1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Sep 29, 2017 11:23 AM
Sergio Luis Conte
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We should be subject matter experts in a field: project management. Solution is defined as "the thing" to be created plus "the process" to create it. And when all ends somebody must to monitor if expected benefits related to solve the problem are achieved. Project manager is the role in charge of "the process". All the other is in charge of business analyst. In fact, one of the key activities in business analysis is "creating and maintaining the business architecture" . Business architecture will lead the creation of application, technological, information and security architectures. And that is not new. That exists from 1986. Believe me, I was part of initiatives (including today) that today are named with buzzwords like big data, machine learning, digital transformation, etc. My intention is: as project manager or business analyst understand that is nothing new below the sun. All these stuff exists. And you are able to use it today.
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Sep 29, 2017 10:28 AM
Replying to Priya Patra
...
Thank you Sergio for your response. I agree with your view on sticking to the basics of project management. I also see that that to survive Project managers need to apply agile principles and have some amount of technical and domain knowledge, not necessarily be an expert. Are we saying we will have SMEs who will provide the business and technical solution ?
We should be subject matter experts in a field: project management. Solution is defined as "the thing" to be created plus "the process" to create it. And when all ends somebody must to monitor if expected benefits related to solve the problem are achieved. Project manager is the role in charge of "the process". All the other is in charge of business analyst. In fact, one of the key activities in business analysis is "creating and maintaining the business architecture" . Business architecture will lead the creation of application, technological, information and security architectures. And that is not new. That exists from 1986. Believe me, I was part of initiatives (including today) that today are named with buzzwords like big data, machine learning, digital transformation, etc. My intention is: as project manager or business analyst understand that is nothing new below the sun. All these stuff exists. And you are able to use it today.
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1 reply by Cris Casey
Sep 29, 2017 11:40 AM
Cris Casey
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Sergio - once again you've offered perspective and clarity. Thanks!
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Sep 29, 2017 11:23 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
We should be subject matter experts in a field: project management. Solution is defined as "the thing" to be created plus "the process" to create it. And when all ends somebody must to monitor if expected benefits related to solve the problem are achieved. Project manager is the role in charge of "the process". All the other is in charge of business analyst. In fact, one of the key activities in business analysis is "creating and maintaining the business architecture" . Business architecture will lead the creation of application, technological, information and security architectures. And that is not new. That exists from 1986. Believe me, I was part of initiatives (including today) that today are named with buzzwords like big data, machine learning, digital transformation, etc. My intention is: as project manager or business analyst understand that is nothing new below the sun. All these stuff exists. And you are able to use it today.
Sergio - once again you've offered perspective and clarity. Thanks!
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I'm with Sergio. We have had a tendency to add new names for things that have been around for some time.

As business continues to evolve, so will the projects we manage.
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1 reply by Priya Patra
Sep 29, 2017 11:36 PM
Priya Patra
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Thanks Stephane ! Rightly said .. As business continues to evolve, so will the projects we manage, so will the project management ( I added the last part :)). What according to you are three top most things that a project manager needs to focus on to keep evolving, the field of project management while sticking to the basics ?
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Sep 29, 2017 5:10 AM
Replying to Peter Ambrosy
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I do not think we need to rethink project management, as the project management processes are still valid. However, projects with digital transformation scope need to apply an E2E transformation view and consider different layers from technical network up to the application UX layer, supported by Organisational Change Management Consulting and Expertise. Big portion of this kind of projects covers use case driven development with a need to apply agile practices.
Thank you Peter for your response. I am glad we all think Project management is ever green. Having said that how can we leverage digital for project managers to ensure that the projects we drive, we execute are delivered with quality and value ?
...
1 reply by Peter Ambrosy
Sep 30, 2017 4:22 AM
Peter Ambrosy
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Priya, as I outlined in my earlier response to your key question whether project management need to be rethink, I am of the opinion that the overall project management framework with the known processes are still valid and important.
What needs to be considered in such kind of projects is an E2E view on all releavnt layers starting from very technical up to OCM. As this projects do have a high degree of adaptive project scenarios agile practises play also an important role. Please refer also to the below link:
https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-pos...-Transformation
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