31 October 2017
How is project management changing in response to digital
With the theme of ‘Innovate, influence and implement,’ delegates
at the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) National
Conference in Melbourne discussed how digital disruption is
impacting their roles.
As a keynote speaker, Kumar Parakala,
GHD’s Global Digital Leader, outlined the biggest changes project
managers need to embrace.
“Project managers are increasingly
expected to deliver value and challenge the status quo, in contrast
with older paradigms where their role was confined to scheduling
activities,” Kumar said.
“The organisational perspective of
project management needs to change from managing risks to managing
“The ability to change and cultivate
the flexibility to put forward novel concepts is becoming a
fundamental prerequisite for the project manager.”
The project management profession is
also increasingly diverse, attracting people from a broader range
Richard Fechner, GHD Advisory Executive
Manager, Infrastructure Investment and Economics, and AIPM Fellow,
highlighted the link between diversity and project success. As a
panellist, Richard discussed GHD’s commitment to diversity and
inclusion, including initiatives to attract, develop and retain
women, LGBTI and Indigenous professionals.
“We have worked hard to make
flexibility the norm for both men and women, and are experiencing a
notable shift in the number of people working flexibly. We also
focus on providing opportunities for women to get critical
experiences across all stages of a project. This is often crucial
for progressing to senior leadership roles,” Richard said.
Other trends Kumar discussed were:
• Lean, agile and
adaptable – the rate of change is such that the moment project
management methodologies are committed to standards and textbooks
they are outdated. Success is the ability of project managers to
rapidly adapt within projects and organisations.
• Digital leadership –
The market is seeking those who are at the forefront applying
digital technologies to projects. This requires a mindset that is
open to experimentation and learning from failure.
• New business models are
emerging in response to new risks and opportunities. The shift from
lump sum to ‘as a service’ based contracts is a good example of the
change in the nature of value being provided.
• Single organisations
working in isolation are increasingly struggling to deliver on the
promises of digitisation to their clients. The need to consolidate
capabilities and seek partnerships is becoming critical for
delivering ‘end to end’ outcomes.