As we near the closing of a year marked by a global pandemic, political headwinds, and rising stress levels, the drive for all things digital is hotter than ever. By some accounts, the pandemic has accelerated timelines for digital transformation, with some CIO’s stating they are already exceeding targets for redesigning business processes and identifying market opportunities.

But with lofty targets come high expectations for digital execution. How do we manage the day to day blocking & tackling on large, complex enterprise transformations? This is a problem that all organizations, large and small, need to solve on a continual basis, if they are to thrive in the future.

According to Business Talent Group, project management is the most in-demand skill in the high-end independent talent market. Meanwhile, lack of digital skills threatens success with digital transformation, according to Gartner.

Against this backdrop comes the digital project manager to the rescue. In essence, digital project management is the art and science of making stuff happen in a digital world.

Digital project managers drive business outcomes through technology, by connecting strategy, branding, marketing, operations, finance, HR, with technology architecture, platforms, and applications. Digital project management is the art of connecting the creatives with the techies, and the science of designing a program structure, cadence, and timing to enable everyone to work, play, and succeed together.

A skilled digital project manager can have an engaging conversation about customer segmentation, targeting and positioning with a marketing strategist, and then turn around and have a deep technical discussion about Customer Data Platforms and Personalization Engines with a MarTech architect. The most important skill, however, is to create concrete, actionable plans, to enable those marketing strategists and technical architects to succeed, by sharing insights, providing required resources, and removing obstacles along the way.

As we continue to progress along the way to our collective New Normal, firms continue to strive for competitive advantage, trying to stay one step ahead when change is the only constant. However, along the way, we’ll all need more digital project managers to keep us on time, on budget, and on scope.

David Zhao

David Zhao is an independent digital expert. He works with digitally savvy executives to identify IT solutions to execute their business vision. David specializes in digital strategy, advanced analytics, and intelligent automation. He is a hands-on, former leader at Deloitte Digital with 16 years of experience through 30+ projects.


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