Thursday, January 10, 2019

Project Management in a Digital World

In the past, I have written about how an IT Project Manager (PM) has to do more than just manage IT projects. As PMs, we have to be knowledgeable about all the products we are implementing. We have to be aware of the product’s benefits to the organization and why the product is being implemented. As strategic PMs, we have to know the benefits, the cost savings, what problem the product solves, and more.
More and more, PMs are being tasked to implement digital projects. Once again, the PM has to be aware of this growing space and acquire new skills or “dust off”project skills they have not used in some time. For digital projects, there are many additional skills that a PM has to be familiar with. For this blog, I will address a few. These skills may not be the most important in managing the digital project, but they are critical skills a PM needs to be proficient at.

Analytics and Reporting

Similar to location, location, location being key in real-estate, data, data, data are important in digital projects. The PM has to be familiar with the data mining process: how to collect data, decipher it, and then provide meaningful reports to the organization, especially executive management. Obviously Google Analytics is a good first place to begin, but the PM should be working with the Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Business Analyst (BA) on the project to understand the deliverables and the benefits of implementing the product.  As with IT projects, digital projects are usually costly and have long execution phases and monitor and control phases.  Keeping the project team focused and on track will be the PM’s hardest job. Communicating and reporting progress to management will be next.  Also, the PM has to provide executive management with samples of what the analytics will be like during these phases so that the project team receives their valuable feedback. 

Information Architecture

Classifying and auditing information will be paramount to the digital project.  As such, the PM must have team members who are experienced in performing these tasks for the project.  If there is a lack of this experience in the organization, it is critical that the PM communicates this to management so as to be able to acquire this expertisefrom a vendor or consultant organization.  Also, it may be possible for a team member who has performed similar tasks in auditing to be trained in the digital product.  However, the PM has to be able to assess the competency of the team member and report their findings to management. If the team member needs a lot of training, this may be a risk to the project since these are critical path tasks. The PM must be able to show management that these tasks need more experience for the implementation and that hiring a third party is money well spent.

Social Media

In these days of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the PM has to know how the organization will be leveraging these sites for the digital project implementation.  The organization has to have a strategic purpose on these sites--just being on them is not good enough. The organization must have a direct connection between their strategic vision and how they are leveraging these sites.  In other words, the PM must insist that the organization provide the strategic objectives in using these sites and how they may benefit the organization. Which tool is better suited for the organization and why? Are there resources in the marketing department that are dedicated to the messaging on these sites? These resources should be on the project and provide insight on the product implementation mainly because these resources need to see the benefits of the product.

The PM will be tasked with a successful implementation of the product and the measuring stick for success will be the usage of the product after the implementation. Executive management will need to know that the budget, which includes the time of the project resources, was time and money well spent. If that can be proven, the PM will have delivered a successful project. 

I am open to discussion at any time on these blogs or anything else related to project management you would like to explore. If you would like to comment about this blog, please do so by posting on this blog or by responding in an email at Benny A. Recine. You may inspire a blog article. I look forward to your comments.