How digital transformation is disrupting project management and leaders

World Finance reports from the 2018 Project Management Institute Global Executive Council

January 23, 2019

Every sector is touched by digital transformation – and more and more project managers will be required to manage the rapid changes it’s causing. But it’s also changing the project management profession itself – so professionals and the Project Management Institute are having to adapt. Murat Bicak from PMI, Peter Moutsatsos from Telstra, and Suneet Prakash from Aditya Birla Management Corporation discuss the impact of digital transformation on project management, the role of the project manager, and the Project Management Institute itself.

The next video in this series is about the changing role of the project manager, or you can watch the full Project Management Institute playlist.

Murat Bicak: Every sector is touched by digital transformations. What makes digital transformations very different from previous transformative efforts is – first of all – the amount of change and the pace of change that is going on right now. Secondly, it’s the competitive environment that’s changed, because organisations need to worry about not only competition coming from their own industries, but competition coming from adjacencies, software sectors. And lastly, the amount of change that organisations go through as it relates to how talent, as well as leadership needs to react, is also a big driver of what makes digital transformations quite different.

Peter Moutsatsos: Digital transformation is changing our business in that it is – we are staring into legacy platforms and legacy products and systems that must be disrupted. And what we’re discovering is that in order to reinvent ourselves, we must disrupt ourselves or be disrupted.

And if we don’t, some young, fresh-faced, well-funded startup will come and take our marketshare and our customers away from us.

Murat Bicak: If you think about the amount of change that needs to happen because of digital transformations, all of that change is going to be delivered through a project or a set of projects, programmes, portfolios. So the opportunity for project management is tremendous, because the world is becoming projectised. There will be more and more projects, more and more change, and the project management profession is going to change with it.

Suneet Prakash: As technology’s coming, and as things are changing, a lot of traditional responsibilities of the project manager can actually now be taken over by technology. Things like scheduling and planning, and things which can be done by software or technology. And he or she can actually spend more time thinking how to get the business alignment of the project. Which is very important.

Today, projects are talked about as strategy: delivery of strategy. That’s the real project manager’s role. And technology will help project managers to align the business part of the project with the delivery.

Murat Bicak: Digital transformations are going to change the role of the project manager – and project management – in big ways.

They’re going to be strategic leaders of their organisations. They’re going to be using different ways and methodologies: so they will be agnostic how actually projects should be delivered, because they’re going to be focused on delivering the outcomes that their organisations are trying to achieve in the marketplace.

At PMI we are also going through a digital transformation, and we consider this a great opportunity for us to continue supporting project management professionals in a different way. We’re building the professional association of the future, by putting our customers in the middle, and really understanding the challenges and issues, and the skills that they need, to continue their careers in the organisations that they work at. And we will continue supporting them on a lifelong career journey.