Digitisation leads project managers to top management

Digitisation leads project managers to top management 06.02.2018 - Project management will form the backbone of corporate success and becomes a decisive competitive factor

While some are thrilled by the endless possibilities of digitalisation, others are driven by the fear of missing the connection. Finally, digitisation, i. e. the transformation of analogue structures into digital structures, will have a massive impact on our professional lives, which is not only announced by numerous studies but also proved in reality. Digitisation does not stop at project management either, but will have a noticeable impact on the work of project managers and the organisational form of companies.

In a three-part series, we describe the impact of digitisation on project management, project managers and organisations. After an introductory look at how digitisation can shape project management, we present in our second article a skill-based resource management as a sensible answer to a continuously changing environment with new requirements. Finally, as a solution provider we would like to show in our third article how software and artificial intelligence can be of benefit to people in projects today.

Digitisation and project management for everyone

Digitisation is changing project management faster and more massively than many people think. On the one hand, this is simply due to the large number of additional internal digitisation projects that are now being initiated. At the same time, the tenor is that companies have to orient themselves more and more towards the customer, which pushes back standard methods and products in favour of customer-specific procedures. Since a "digitised" administration is generally considered to be more efficient, this is not a problem, at least it is often claimed.

This "projectification", i. e. the massive dissemination of projects and project-oriented work, involves a large number of dangers:
  • Lack of prioritisation of the individual projects
    If the projects are not prioritised and started uncoordinated instead, the organisation takes over and overburdens its employees.
  • Reorientation after a hasty start
    Many projects are started prematurely and not methodically pursued. The focus (scope) changes rapidly in the course of the project, which leads to costly adjustments. A high degree of dynamism in the individual projects usually burdens the parallel running projects.
  • None or inadequate Project planning and control
    It's no secret: If a project is badly planned, chances are good that it will fail. Rescue measures for the misaligned project often affect other projects.
  • Multi-project management
    Which projects depend on each other in terms of content, where are the same resources needed and what effects do the delays in my project have on other projects? Anyone who is unable to provide a reliable answer to this question across projects is already on the brink of the ice.
  • Multi-resource management
    Many of the digitisation projects are multidisciplinary, implemented by mixed teams of internal and external employees and often agile approaches or hybrid hybrid forms are chosen for the realisation. If planning is not carried out with a central pool of resources that also takes external experts into account, there is a chaos of unresolved priorities, competences and responsibilities. In digitisation projects in particular, it is often not even known which skills the employees must have to realise the projects.
  • Project management for everyone
    Organisations have started more projects faster than qualified project managers are available to them. More and more untrained employees are being employed as project managers. But especially in a dynamic multi-project environment, the know-how of trained and experienced project management experts is more important than ever.

This list is certainly not exhaustive and can easily be extended to include useful points. It is important for us to point out that only holistic project and portfolio management with central resource planning is able to maintain an overview, set priorities and enforce them as well as to realise controlled customer projects and digitisation projects. This project and portfolio management with upstream demand management will form the backbone of a modern company.

Decode corporate strategy into projects

In this context, the strategic importance of project management is growing: Management must formulate a corporate strategy and translate it into projects. The individual projects are collected in a project portfolio, evaluated and then successively implemented. Controlling the project portfolio is an agile process that is subject to constant change, for example as a result of new customer projects, and constantly realigns itself. A central pool of resources is a prerequisite for the early detection and elimination of bottlenecks and overloads. 

Thus, conventional forms of organisation are increasingly being shaken: silo mentality is gradually replaced by agile, networked thinking and agile, project-oriented structures are being established. The upheavals thus triggered in the company must be actively managed and supervised. The project management itself becomes an even more important organ in the implementation of these change processes. The project manager becomes a change manager: In addition to his methodical know-how, which also includes knowledge of agile procedures, soft skills and emotional intelligence in team leadership. The strategic importance of project and portfolio management opens the door to top management for the project manager. While department and division heads, who increasingly "lose" their personnel to projects, become less relevant, the position of project managers gains in importance.


More projects, project management for everybody and a more agile corporate organisation characterise a development driven by digitisation. A career as a project manager opens the way to top management, where the corporate strategy is operationalised and steered into projects. At the same time, the requirement profile expands to include the aspect of "change management": With professional competence, entrepreneurial thinking and intuition, project managers make a significant contribution to the digital transformation of the company and lead its employees into the digital age.

About the author

Thomas Schlereth is the founder and managing director of Can Do GmbH. The trained data processing specialist has extensive experience in the conception and design of software as well as excellent project management and consulting expertise.
Thomas Schlereth published various specialist articles on project and portfolio management, resource planning and risk management and is a speaker at specialist events.
About Can Do Do
Can Do is a leading solution provider for project and portfolio management with a focus on resource management. Founded in 2000, the owner-managed software company supports large medium-sized companies and corporations across all industries in the planning and implementation of projects, while at the same time taking into account the availability and skills of employees.
In addition to solutions for project and portfolio management, Can Do also offers apps for demand management, holiday planning and staff deployment planning. Can Do's innovative skill management combines corporate strategy with human resources management.
The customers of Munich Can Do GmbH include Gothaer Versicherung, Salzgitter AG, the Oerlikon Group and others.

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