Fast changing digital technologies are altering the types of project management into digital project management. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning alone can and will have several positive effects on how we do what we do.
Traditional project management
Let us start with what we know. The Project Management Institute (PMI) (2018) has defined project management and projects as:
Project management entails the application of skills, tools, knowledge, and techniques to project activities to meet the requirements of a project. A project is defined as a temporary endeavor that is engaged in to create a unique product, service, or result.
Traditional project managers are responsible for:
- Kickstarting a project
- Meticulously planning
- Making things happen and getting things done
- Monitoring and controlling scope, budget, schedule, risk, communication, stakeholders, and contracts
- Completing, reviewing, and documenting
Digital project management
A digital project manager is a specialized project manager who works on anything using digits, particularly binary digits. Remember, we are not talking about a technical project manager. A technical project manager generally works with information systems. According to Aston (2016), “Digital project management is the leading, planning, organizing, motivating and delivery of web-enabled projects which use the internet and delivered through screens or connected devices – often within digital agencies, studios, or internal web teams.”
The digital project manager skill-sets
It is not just about project management anymore. Becoming multifaceted at many business practices will set you and your work apart. Edgerton (2013) identified a few digital project management skills years ago that still hold true today.
- Project management (naturally)
- Account/client management
- Digital strategist/web product management
- Sales/business development
- Quality specialist
Digital project management: Occupations and industries
I challenge you to think of a scenario where implementing technology would not increase productivity and drive sales. Think across any industry – startup to enterprise. Can you? According to Westland (2018),“Any company that drives sales through its website via search engine optimization, mobile technologies, email newsletter marketing, social media marketing and copywriting may want to seek the help of a digital project manager.”
Make your digital transformation
Shift to a learning mindset
I have enjoyed an exciting path into digital project management, as most of us have. Early on, as I pursued my degree, I had a professor plant a seed by saying, “Education is the one sure way to change social status.” Perhaps it is a fraction of why I do what I do and believe so passionately in education. Have a learning mindset; always be ready to learn.
Many technical skills can take your digital project management skills to the next level, such as:
- File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
- Information architecture
- Artificial intelligence
- Machine learning
It is also essential to know accessory skills:
- Web design
- User experience
- Adobe suite
- Social media
Luckily, in my first few years of project management, I worked for an online education company. I quickly learned a variety of technical skills, such as HTML, CSS, analytics, and multiple customer relationship management (CRM) tools that helped me advance my career as a digital project manager. I furthered my skills as a contractor to include basics in social media, web design, UX, Adobe products, and SEO. I learned a considerable amount from Brad Batesole’s multiple SEO courses on LinkedIn Learning before ever thinking about working there.
What kind of digital project manager are you?
Level 1: Mission critical project managers focus on completing high-quality projects on time and under budget.
Level 2: Great project managers communicate frequently, plan meticulously, and manage risk and change effectively. They have a fair amount of technical skills.
Level 3: Exceptional project managers lead teams with a strategic business mindset and demonstrate technical skills. They set up each person within the project team for success while managing stakeholder needs. If something can go wrong, it probably will. Exceptional project managers not only manage risk but also work in the grey area of the project (Alexander, 2017). These people set themselves apart by continuously learning new skills.
Take your digital project management skills to the next level.
Megan Russell, PMP, is an experienced project manager with a demonstrated history of working in the technology and online education industries. She has consulted in the past and is a subject matter expert specifically in digital project management, remote project management, and project communications. Currently, she works to develop and maintain the curriculum at LinkedIn Learning in project management, product management, operations, and leadership. She enjoys volunteering on various advisory councils and working in leadership positions on women and diversity first groups. Megan writes about customer relationship management and remote project management.