How Digitalization Affects Project Management – Evidence from Two Case Studies in the Construction Industry
Digital transformation is a phenomenon occurring across sectors and nations, affecting not only technical processes, but also organizational forms and managerial practices. Among them are: (1) project-based organizations (PBOs), common in traditional sectors like the construction industry, and (2) project networks (PNWs), the most favorable form of project organizing in modern service and creative industries. Project management, which is often used as an agent for change, plays a significant role in initiating and implementing digital transformation. To analyze the digital transformation of traditional PBOs and modern PNWs, comparative case studies in the context of commercial construction have been conducted in Sweden and in Germany. Special attention has been paid to the role of digital solutions such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) for organizing projects. While there seems to be a shared understanding in both case studies of the potential of the technology to disrupt and innovate the industry, the actual usage leads to progress but also faces barriers. In one of our cases the process of digitalization even rolls back to analog planning. Lessons for project management are discussed.