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Project Managers: Driving the Way to the Digital Future

By Kirsten Hale Lora, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Transformation, Association of International Certified Professional

Kirsten Hale Lora, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Transformation, Association of International Certified Professional

The digital disruption has changed everything for corporations. The cloud allows us to move faster, from months to minutes. Organizations that do not have capability for on-site technologies can play on a global stage with equal footing. Speed-to-market has accelerated and consumer models are changing. Goodbye capex. Hello, opex and subscription services.

"A project manager, in any development environment, keeps the focus on the scope"

With the digital explosion consumer expectations are changing. We assume social and mobile is possible for everything—and that we can personalize our experiences to our individual preferences. As we have so much changing at once it means corporations are working to move faster and build more at a record pace. That means we need flexibility but also processes and standards. The role of the project manager is critical in moving fast and being effective. We want to go as fast as a Formula One race car. Cloud provides the vehicle to move fast, but we need a strong, flexible project manager as the driver to succeed in our transformations.

Why do we need a project manager?

Project managers are in the driver’s seat of a project. They control where the “car” is going, how fast, and identify and take action when things need to change. There are many things that project managers accomplish for organizations, and while moving fast some of the key contributions are as follows:

Focus on the scope

A project manager, in any development environment, keeps the focus on the scope. A project manager keeps the race in mind and isn’t trying to steer the team off track. They are consistently making sure that what was promised is delivered, and that the team and stakeholders do not add to the project without necessary approvals. This mission to keep the project tight is essential if you are moving fast. It is easy to be distracted by the “what if we did it this way…” moments or a customer saying “oh, I like that but could you also add…”Project managers today recognize the balance between agility and deliverables and manage that juggling act to drive the team to a victory.

Engage the team

A project manager knows the strengths and weakness of their crew. They know who they can count on to deliver on their own, and who needs additional motivation to keep going through the homestretch.

Keep the timeline on track

Project managers keep your race to completion on track. They understand that time means money and that customers expect project work to be completed on time and in budget. They work with the team to overcome obstacles and identify how to speed things up if the team gets behind.

Manage the stakeholders.

Project managers know who to engage and when to engage them. They understand that business leaders and key stakeholders want to feel confident, be knowledgeable, and understand what is happening on a strategic digital transformation project. These stakeholders also do not want to be in the weeds. Making sure that stakeholders have the information they need, when they need it, and in a format that works for them is a key function of a project manager.

Why are project managers essential drivers for your digital transformation

Project managers know how to keep your projects on track. Whether it is moving your data center to the cloud, creating new IoT devices, launching security initiatives, or establishing an analytics office—all projects need a strong driver to make sure that they are done well. The project manager is the key to completing the work, and making sure that the victory lap is celebrated and embraced by everyone.