PROJECT Delivery

Mind– und Skill-Set für Digital Leadership

 

The process of digital transformation is currently occupying Europe as an industrial location; numerous program and project managers are working intensively to establish individual products or applications in new, digital contexts. It is proof of the complexity of technical, economic and organizational change processes that project managers experience as digital transformation. In order to effectively manage this complexity, project managers need an adequate skill set that enables them not only to organize the transformation process technically, but also to win employees for it. using cloud computing as an example, this article outlines both the potential for change inherent in the technology and the necessary areas of competence that result for project managers.

Enabling Technology

Cutting­edge technologies such as cloud computing open new ways of organizing work, innovating, manufacturing products, and serving customers. The seemingly unlimited elasticity and flexibility of technical infrastructures are shattering traditional boundaries of what is possible in business. Cloud environments create the prerequisites and scope for highly innovative processes and product solutions that were previously not economically feasible. In order to use this scope of possibilities for one’s own competitive advantage, all departments must be equally involved in the design of the cloud environment. This creates new collaboration models and approaches that are anchored in the company parallel to the technical migration to cloud environments. The change in the context of an enabling technology is not only a technical change, but also and above all a cultural change in the company.

 

Digital Leadership

Traditional management concepts focused primarily on the technical competence of project managers. The success of the project was mainly due to the substantial management ability. However, the effective implementation of enabling technologies such as cloud requires a more agile mind­ and skills set. The focus is not on planning and control work, but on the communicative integration of all colleagues involved. The success cannot be ensured by adhering to schedules alone. Economic added value for the company is not achieved by ticking off requirement documents or assignments. Instead, digitally savvy project managers must enable all involved employees to use the changed technology in new contexts in a targeted and effective manner and to become independent designers and self­confident users of the technology. Personal strengths in the following four areas of competence help them to do this:

Inspire to Grow

Transformation processes in cloud environments are com­ plex tasks in a dynamic work and knowledge environment. The involved colleagues, not only in the IT departments, have to learn to deal with fundamentally new concepts and applications. Project managers inspire the team to learn. They support the team on this personal growth path and act as coaches, mentors and teachers.

Trustworthy Determination

Migration to cloud environments and the development of new collaboration models are profound changes in an organization. A certain skepticism towards sophisticated technology is understandable. Some colleagues may even have fundamental doubts about the desirability or feasibility of increasing business process flexibility. Digital project managers reflect on this area of tension and involve even the most skeptical employees in communication. At the same time, they resolutely drive the change process for­ ward. Their energy sweeps the team and the organization along. At the same time, they tirelessly explain the importance and significance of the project. Their openness and untiring communication, especially with the sceptics, creates a resilient basis of trust.

 

“DIGITAL PROJECT MANAGERS TRANSFORM LIMITATION INTO A POSITIVE IMPULS”

 

Focused Vision

Complex transformation processes cannot be planned in detail. Many imponderables and dependencies influence the course of the project. Digital project managers accept this uncertainty. They have a clear idea of the result. They set a clear direction and act flexibly and adaptably along the way.

Energetic Curiosity

In an environment of rapidly changing, specialized knowledge, even experienced managers have a limited knowledge base. Digital project managers transform this limitation into a positive impulse to share knowledge and responsibility. They value critical questions more highly than uncritical answers; they are skeptical of unalterable truths. They create an environment in which all project participants can develop new answers and formulate innovative solutions.

Adaptability also applies to leadership qualities

Digital transformation is now a widely used collective term that subsumes very different processes of change. Al­ though the introduction of cloud environments involves a specific technology, the individual projects are realized within a broad range of economic and organizational conditions. Accordingly, the areas of competence of digital project managers must also be designed in a variable way. To enable companies to individually realize the opportunities offered by enabling technologies, there is no static one­size­fits­all management model. Anyone who accepts the ambiguity of the competency model outlined above and instead asks: “Which specific skills are most effective in a specific project in a specific project phase?” is on the right path to digital leadership.

 

Author

Felix Evert

Head of Consulting at Cloudical Deutschland GmbH

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