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IT Project Management

What Makes Digital Projects Different

Digitization has meant a significant change to the type of work that IT project management teams have been asked to do

More than two-thirds of executives believe their company must become significantly more digitized to maintain competitiveness. Unsurprisingly, this has meant the management of digital projects and programs has become a critical focus for IT project management offices (PMOs).

They should understand five attributes of digital work if they want to make a success of this shift.

  1. Demands speed: Companies and their IT functions don’t have the “luxury of being slow.” However, PMO and project management processes are considered potential sources of delays by more than 80% of software development teams using Agile processes.

  2. Places a premium on project manager entrepreneurial skills: The average project manager can’t adapt quickly enough to thrive in the dynamic digital environment, but those with entrepreneurial skills — such as, stakeholder partnership, learning agility, and judgment — can.

    They can flex to take on Scrum Master or even Product Owner roles, or step up into a program manager role to coordinate the work of multiple Agile teams.

  3. Is often business-managed: Over half of project work (55%) at the average company is managed by business partners or the contractors they hire.

    Increasing business partner ownership of project management activities require PMOs and project management teams to provide a wide range to support to their business stakeholders.

  4. Requires coordination with non-digital demand: Most large IT functions will operate with multiple development methodologies for the foreseeable future, and that means they need to find new ways to coordinate all the work (using Scrum, Waterfall, XP, etc.) that have varying planning and delivery horizons.

    Project management teams must also overcome challenges in coordinating functional and governance processes that typically aren’t flexible enough for digital work.

  5. Requires funding flexibility: As business partners rapidly test and learn from new digital experiments, priorities change frequently. The bottom-up, project-based model for funding work that most IT functions use fails to support this pace of changing priorities.

    Forward-thinking teams are moving towards a top-down allocation of capital to product lines that align to their company’s most critical business capabilities to create the necessary funding flexibility.


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