What does it mean to be a Digital Project Manager

The world has embraced digital and along with it, created new jobs and made redundant old jobs. Over the past 20 years we have witnessed a radical shift in the skills, competencies and demand for ‘digital’ jobs.

One of the job types which is in demand more than ever before is the role of a Digital Project Manager. In this article, we explore exactly what it means, what skills are required and the expectations around the role.

Digital Project Management is as much about process and documentation as it is about efficiency and ‘quick’ delivery of meanful change and modernisation.

So allow me to explain what is meant by the role of a digital project manager(s).

1. What is digital project management?

Digital project management is the managing of projects the revolve around digital – that being anything that involves wholly or in part digital data, security, interoperability with other key business systems etc.
As with all project management, the role requires that the project be managed from concept (business requirements gathering/scoping through to formulation of a business case) through to delivery within budget, to an agreed timeframe and to draw on key resources both internally and externally to a business or organisation if and where relevant.
Digital Project Management involves coordination, listening to the needs of often a vast array of stakeholders, documenting, planning, delegating, tracking, reviewing, and measuring  results and always looking for opportunities for continuance improvement. The goal of every project is different, but the overarching objective is to improve business efficiencies and to derive ROI from each project.

2. What are some skills required for a digital project manager?

Skills include time management, resource management, planning, organising, communication and delegating can be developed in almost any role. 
Specifically, below is a list of some of the required skills for a good digital project manager:
  • Communication (verbal and written)
  • Change management
  • Schedule & lead project meetings
  • Draft meeting agendas & meeting notes
  • Assign & schedule project tasks
  • Lead & direct project team members
  • Prepare & monitor project timelines, resourcing schedules & budgets
  • Manage project scope
  • QA all project deliverables
  • Contribute to client proposals & quotes
  • Build project reports
  • Assess and evaluate project success
  • Manage numerous external vendors (suppliers)

3. Is there unique methodology used in digital project management?

There are numerous methodologies. The most common are either Waterfall or Agile. Waterfall methodologies are a much more traditional approach to project management; building scopes, managing resources, and working in phases. This process is popular because it is pretty easy to envision and ramp up quickly. 
Agile is a much more evolved methodology that requires flexibility and collaboration. While Waterfall has a strict plan to follow, Agile approaches give the team the ability to respond to change quickly and efficiently. This also allows the client or stakeholder to come in at different stages and make sure their expectations are actively being met before moving forward.
If you’d like to learn more about methodologies, read 5 Lessons Learnt from working with Agile and Waterfall project methodologies

4. What tools are recommended to support digital project management?

There are a number of critical tools I recommend to support best practice in project management. They include:
  • Smartsheet (for timesheeting, schedules etc)
  • Mindjet Mindmapper (for brainstorming, workshops, meeting note taking and general communications)
  • Cloud based collaboration tools (Basecamp, Wrike, JIRA, Confluence etc) 

These tools combined can support the tracking and monitoring of overall progress, such that you can communicate with executive stakeholders using real, up-to-the-minute data. You can cut out status update meetings, because you know what’s going on just by checking your project management tools. 

Keeping all your documents, project inputs and other project outputs information in a cloud-based project management tool and/or file storage tool means people can download the files they need right when they need them — without hounding the Project manager.
For transparency and accountability, feedback and decisions can all be maintained centrally  so the business can refer back to them as and where required. Imagine, no more arguments over “He said/She said” or “I didn’t realise that was my responsibility,” since everything is clearly documented in one place that everyone can access. You can also track availability and resource plans.
Most importantly, a good digital project manager is one that regularly and often reports up to a project steering committee or authority where decisions can be made, issues escalated and remediation effectively managed. 
Need Expert help? Looking for digital project managers for your next digital project Speak to us!