“On the one hand, digitization can be expected to give project management a boost, because it is primarily driven by projects. Will the project manager become a control center due to the growing complexity, the increasingly distributed and interdisciplinary teams, often from different organizations, networked as a generalist? “Asks Project magazine in a blog parade to project manager2030. I would like to participate in this in this context.

The project manager today!

What about the project manager today? A keyword is probably the technical management of employees in the matrix organization. A kind of toothless tiger who has to get people to work on his project in addition to their day-to-day business. It is seldom that you are assigned full-time staff, because even if you do, the employee is often still on 5 other projects. At least that’s my impression. The project manager has to motivate and bring the various stakeholders together and keep the project going. But now the question remains: what does digital change do to a project manager? Will the increasingly distributed and interdisciplinary teams, often from different organizations, be networked as a generalist, like from a project magazine to a control center?
Reading tip: Generalist or specialist?

Round table on the future in PMO

Some time ago I did a study to answer this question. For this purpose, I brought together a wide variety of participants from the field of project management in a round table. The full report is available in the minutes to fourth round table . The participants of the roundtable are listed below. The study can also be found under Lindner et al. (2017) in the HMD – Practice of Business Informatics and was created as part of my doctoral thesis. However, the results serve well to concretize the project manager2030.
Participants of this round table:

CompaniespositionArtNumber of employees
Logistics service providerTeam leader PMOGroup30.000
FinanceTeam leader PMOGroup188.000
IT service providerConsultant PMOMiddle class100
Trading companyproject ManagerMiddle class500
Trading companyproject ManagerMiddle class500
Logistics service providerPortfolio managerGroup65.000
Textile industryTeam leader PMOGroup14.000

Together with this expert from the PMO (project management office), consultant for project management and project manager, we talked about the daily work and found that the digital change is already influencing the work of the project management experts present. In the study by Lindner et al. (2017) the following examples can be found:

  • A development team based in India with whom communication only takes place via Jira (https://de.atlassian.com/software/jira) and email and Skype
  • Distributed team at different locations, which has two regular appointments for a meeting per month and works together virtually via web sessions
  • Meetings are often held in a neutral location, such as a café, between locations using mobile technology
  • Opportunity to consult the best professionals around the world
  • Locations in rural areas can access specialists from the main location
  • Employees can be kept after the location has been closed (4 days home office – 1 day at the main location)
  • Massive number of e-mails, notifications and other tool-internal messages often at the same time
  • Often communication runs on more than one channel at the same time (notification via Skype that an e-mail has been sent)

Conclusion # Projektleiter2030

What can be derived from this for the project manager of the future? It is becoming apparent that the project manager will take over the control of projects using tools. All communication runs through a wide variety of channels (analogue and digital) at the project manager. In addition to massive emails and notifications, this also includes calls and personal conversations. Furthermore, the work seems to be more distributed. While experts worldwide communicate with the project manager and distribute this work using tools such as Jira or similar, he must certainly also meet stakeholders and project staff on site.
According to the results of the roundtable, the question of the project magazine can be answered: “Will the project manager become a generalist due to the growing complexity of the control center, the increasingly distributed and interdisciplinary teams, often from different organizations?” at least partially supported by arguments. The project manager will act in a mixture of analog and digital media with distributed teams and control them using tools via Jira or similar. Communication of all kinds will converge with him and he must be present in both virtual and analog space at the same time. One could almost assume that it is an interface between the analog and the digital world.
Reading tip: The digital workplace
Many thanks to the project magazine! With this article I won the first prize of the blog parade and I can look forward to an exclusive ticket for the PM Welt 2018!

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Verwendete Quellen anzeigen

Lindner, D., Ott, M., & Leyh, C. (2017). The digital workplace – SMEs between tradition and change. HMD – Praxis der Wirtschaftsinformatik , (6), 1-17.

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Image-Source Titlepicture: Fotolia.de 2016 – buyed License

Dr. Dominic Lindner
Author

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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