In a world increasingly driven by digital technology, the very word ‘digital’ has begun to lose its meaning as a descriptor. It seems like everything is digital. We bank online, shop online, store and share photos online, get our news online, and so much more.
This digital reality is so much a part of our existence now that we speak in terms of ‘digital natives’ and ‘digital immigrants.’ Of course, digital project management is a thing. But what is it, exactly?
What is digital project management?
Digital project management is defined as the use of digital tools to leverage knowledge, skills, and techniques to accomplish project activities in digital workspaces and achieve project goals.” In the case of normal project management, you could just add “in digital spaces” to the end of that definition and call it digital project management.
That’s not wrong, but it’s not especially helpful either. Technically, using word processors, email, and spreadsheets for project management to manage a project would meet that definition, but, intuitively, we know digital technology has so much more to offer us as project managers.
Types of digital projects
Digital project management is all about getting things done in the digital world. Some examples of real-world digital projects are:
- Software and mobile app development
- Website design and development
- UI/UX designs
- Conversion rate optimization
- Digital Marketing Campaigns
Digital project management vs IT project management
In a conversation about digital products, you may immediately think of things like security systems, data management and analysis, and large-scale information technology endeavors. Those belong in a sub-category of digital project management, IT project management.
TechTarget defines IT project management as “the process of planning, organizing, and delineating responsibility for the completion of an organizations’ specific information technology (IT) goals.” Digital project management software can absolutely be used for IT project management, but they’re also valuable for less technical pursuits like content creation, product launches, and more.
What are the roles of a digital project manager?
The digital project manager primarily manages people and their tasks. She is responsible for the project’s success and guides her team to complete deliverables on time.
These are some of the roles and responsibilities of a digital project manager:
- Defining a project scope
- Project planning is done to achieve the project’s goals
- Manage people, budgets, tools, and project timelines
- Assessing the project risks and coming up with alternative options
- Maintaining, managing, and delegating resources effectively
- Ensuring that the project meets the client’s expectations
What are the skills needed to become a digital project manager?
While some additional skills are necessary for digital project management as compared to standard project management skills, it’s not as different or complex as you might imagine. If you’re a good manager who’s computer literate, you can become a good digital project manager.
Following are a few skills needed to become a digital project manager to manage digital projects:
1. Technical skills
Digital project management doesn’t have to be intimidating. The level of technical skill required for your project depends on the kind of product you’re producing; for content marketing, you need few, for a visual campaign a few more related to photo and video editing, and for app development considerably more.
Your project management software shouldn’t require learning a slew of technical skills. There are a variety of digital project management tools that require differing levels of user technical ability. Make sure to choose one that fits the knowledge level of you and your team.
2. Communication skills
As with any area of life and work, communication in project management is key. There are several advantages to digital communication: it’s fast and affordable, you don’t have to be in the same place (or even the same time zone) to have a discussion, and it’s easy to retrieve a copy of correspondence for future reference.
On the other hand, digital communication comes with some disadvantages, which can turn into risks for digital project management. Whether it’s an email, a text message, or an old-fashioned letter, written communication lacks the ability to convey the tone of voice and all the nuances that eye contact and body language provide.
To mitigate the risks of miscommunication, the digital project manager must hone her communication skills. This includes obvious things like writing clearly and being thorough when giving instructions. She must also develop a rapport with team members, learn to “read between the lines” to detect when something is amiss, and set clear expectations for how employees are to communicate with one another and with clients.
3. Critical thinking and data analysis
One of the most important tasks of the project manager is assessing the health of the project at any given point. The digital project manager should collect data based on carefully-determined key performance indicators (KPIs) and analyze that data to measure project progress. She must also look beyond the numbers to consider causes and effects and to anticipate possible project management challenges and solutions.
Critical thinking skills are essential to interpret and integrate information from
- project team members,
- project stakeholders, and
- project management experts that can contribute to the success of your project.
4. Using project management methodologies
There are a number of project management methodologies that can be applied effectively to digital project management. It’s up to you to determine which methodology or combination of methodologies fits the needs of your project and team.
Here are a few of the most popular project management methodologies and frameworks widely used:
This method consists of strictly-defined phases that occur in sequential order. It allows for a great deal of control but little flexibility. It’s best for projects in which the requirements will not change and iteration is not necessary.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Agile project management is “an iterative and incremental approach to delivering requirements throughout the project life cycle,” according to the Association for Project Management.
The Kanban System uses a board and card system to give team members a visual overview of an entire project. It’s great for aiding in incremental improvements but not ideal for complex product development projects.
Originating from rugby play, the Scrum methodology involves dividing projects into short “sprints” in which team members work closely together to complete each element of the project. It’s best for small teams.
Manage projects with a digital project management tool
With the right set of skills, best project management app, and methodologies, all your projects are set up for success right from the beginning. Kissflow Project lets you manage all your projects in a unified platform. You can break down individual projects into tasks and assign team members different roles and responsibilities. Take it for a spin today.