How digital technology is transforming project management

Wim Vermeulen Posted 19 March 2019

The life sciences industry is embarking on a transformative technology journey. Many leading pharma and biotech companies are making digital transformation - whether it’s in the content management or data analytics space - an integral part of their corporate strategy nowadays. But will that be enough to drive projects that yield the envisioned revenue growth and profitability?

The Project Management Institute (PMI) recently published a report in which 75% of the surveyed organizations claim that they still have to see tangible results from implementing new technologies in their programs and projects. This seeming discrepancy suggests a gap between strategy and execution - one that requires a call to action: the project manager must embrace new competences and approaches to thrive in the digital workspace.

We’ve summarized 4 of these statements and kindly invite you to take some time to reflect on these in the benefit of your organization: For those interested in reading the full article, please follow the link (Source: PMI).

1. A digital world requires ‘new project management skills’

Project leaders shouldn’t only focus on the traditional technical skills of project management but also need to keep pace with technology. Project managers should become practitioners of at least six ‘new skills’ that resonate well with how technology works:

  • data science skills,
  • an innovative mindset,
  • security and privacy knowledge,
  • legal and regulatory compliance knowledge,
  • the ability to make data-driven decisions, and
  • collaborative leadership.

2. The project manager should support the agility needed to work at multiple speeds across an organization

In a highly regulated industry, it might take several years for a company to complete its digital transformation. During this journey, the project leader will be prompted to use a mix of methodologies and technologies to operate at multiple speeds as the organization moves at different paces. Therefore, project leaders should empower themselves to create and nurture a culture of innovation, agility, and critical thinking, reinforced with the right tools.

3. The project manager should have an open mindset to experiment with new, innovative ways of working

Project leaders must understand that the path to transformation is one with many hiccups down the road. Project leaders need to learn that mistakes might be made, metrics may take a hit, but the efforts will pay off in the long run. They will also need to learn how to track the value of experimentation and learning for ideation and innovation projects. Project leaders should be able to measure things like how quickly unsuccessful experiments are abandoned, how much learning has been documented from experimentation (and whether other teams are subsequently tapping into that learning), how fast the team pivots to new ideas, and how well the learnings are applied.

4. The project manager should reinvent itself as an agent of organizational change and transformation, focused on translating strategy to business outcomes, delivered through projects

New technologies will continue to disrupt the way we work at an accelerated pace - so much that 65% of children today will work in future jobs that do not yet exist. Project leaders will play an important part in evangelizing new concepts and methods across the organization. They must become educators, helping people understand how to apply technology that worked in a previous project into their own by sharing best practices and ideas. Project leaders must be agents of change and transformation, ensuring the leadership’s strategic roadmap and organization-level KPIs are also incorporated on a project level.

We actively follow the atest trends and insights in project management. However, translating these into tangible solutions for our customers is how we really make the difference.

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