Whether you’re a recently anointed project manager or you’re a seasoned industry veteran, you know that there’s a lot to keep up within your work world. You’ve got to know how to apply the latest thinking and methodologies into your projects to keep them running as smoothly as possible. You’ve got to constantly keep your project teams motivated and on the cutting edge of efficiency, speed, and quality. And there are always new technologies to get trained on that can help you maintain the already great status you have in your organization.
And today, companies are going digital in a big way, employing not just new technologies and methodologies in their projects, but honing those digital skills to make themselves more strategic assets. Going digital is the best thing Project Managers can do for their careers. Here are few tips on catching a ride on the digital wave.
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Why You Should Care
For Project Managers, it’s a constant battle to keep projects on budget and on time. In a study of almost 1500 IT projects, Harvard Business Review found that all but one in six projects had a cost overrun of 200 percent on average and a schedule overrun of almost 70 percent. The Project Management Institute (PMI) also estimates that for every $1 billion invested in the U.S., $122 million is wasted due to lacking project performance.
Those are pretty chilling statistics that speak to the complexity of most projects. Fortunately, companies that adopt digital project management principles and leverage the right technologies and methodologies can create a higher-functioning organization that yields better results. High-performing organizations, in fact, successfully complete 89 percent of their projects, while low performers complete only 36 percent, according to PMI. Becoming digital-ready is the first important step in creating the right mindset, processes, and initiatives based on teamwork and results.
Let Data Enhance Your Digital Toolkit
Big Data can be a boon for project managers. The International Project Management Institute (IPMA) reports that Big Data is being used in the project management field to do everything from optimizing team configuration and planning processes to creating better risk management and response strategies and developing more efficient quality standards – all key components of a top-notch PM organization. Companies that create data-driven cultures, moreover, are purpose-built to leverage Big Data, and today more than 85 percent of respondents in a recent survey say that their firms have started programs to create data-driven cultures. Data can help fuel the power of your new digital techniques.
See the Customer Side of the Equation
Many project managers, unfortunately, find themselves fixed on the internal workings of product development or IT, and they rarely have the opportunity to see what happens on the external face of the company. Improving the customer experience is consistently rated as the leading driver of digital transformation, and today’s digital project managers are trained to have an impact on just that. How do they get there? They learn social media marketing to get on board with the 83 percent of marketers that now actively pursue social initiatives to better understand customer preferences. They learn how to help impact SEO results (a $72 billion industry) from the back end of the process, and they learn how to leverage Web Analytics to improve ROI of internal and external programs.
Go With the Most Efficient Digital-Enabled Methodologies
True to its name, Agile techniques are just the right tonic for project managers who need a more nimble approach to run projects. Agile-based projects are more streamlined and modular, allowing PMs to deliver in functional stages, make modifications and changes on the fly more easily, and build a better team collaboration infrastructure. Agile projects are 28 percent more successful than traditional projects, making Agile one of the most popular project management methods in today’s digital world. And when combined with Scrum techniques (as 89 percent of Agile users do) – where teams produce working code in phases at the end of each “sprint” – projects are more easily tracked, move faster and enhance on-the-job satisfaction for project participants.
Embrace ITSM and DevOps Best Practices
Project managers have a massive influence on the way technology is built and deployed, and they can improve their standing in the organization by showing proficiency in IT service management and the booming field of DevOps, now the #4 most requested position in the Hired State of Salaries Report. Digital project managers also have an opportunity to align better IT and corporate business objectives, which is a key tenet of 65 percent of high-maturity IT organizations. ITIL Lifecycle training has become a key component of the new digital project management repertoire.
It is an exciting time to be a project manager. There are ample opportunities for both newbie and expert Project Managers to expand their skillsets outside of their traditional comfort zones and establish themselves as credible strategic players in their companies.
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