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5 Ways to Improve the Digital Project Management Processes

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digital project management process

The “Fourth Industrial Revolution is making headway with new technologies that are changing the way we live and work. Most working processes are digital, and as a result, traditional project management is becoming obsolete.  

Employing new technology to manage a project benefits the organization and the project itself. In actuality, 58% of businesses state that an established digital process is crucial to the success of a project.  

What does the Digital Project Management Process Entail?

Simply put, digital project management is the process of preparing, executing, and coordinating projects entirely online or digitally. The “digital” part of this definition refers to all things connected to the internet.  

Since the whole process is online, it can incorporate new-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, automation, and data analytics. And these bring tremendous value to a project’s success. 

In fact, 62% of businesses believe automation has a high significance for projects, whereas project managers expect the proportion of their projects using AI to jump from 23% to 37%. 

This opens up a vast array of opportunities.  

Using digital tools that take advantage of new technologies makes the whole process more transparent, easier to oversee tasks, and opens a gateway to efficient monitoring and reporting. 

Therefore, as inextricably linked as digital project management is to its traditional counterpart, there are fundamental differences between the two. 

Digital Project Management vs. Traditional Project Management

There are many similarities between digital and traditional project management. They both need project teams, define project scope, and must provide deliverables on time and within budget. 

But, with the fast-changing pace of technology, traditional project management is becoming a thing of the past, and digital project management is starting to take its place.  

Digital project management is becoming necessary because it predominantly happens digitally, combines multiple technologies, and requires up-to-date knowledge.  

Studies show that traditional organizational structures are rigid and bureaucratic, making it difficult to quickly or accurately respond to the constant changes in the business environment. Companies can use digital project management approaches to better use and control existing resources and capabilities.   

The Project Management Lifecycle

The project management lifecycle is the same for both digital and traditional project management. However, incorporating different digital workplace software in the stages can significantly improve the whole process.  

As a matter of fact, according to research, 77% of managers claim that high-performing projects owe their success to digital performance management software. 

1. Initiation 

The initiation phase of a management’s lifecycle marks the project’s outset after getting the team and the client’s commitment.  

Following the next several steps during the initiation stage will increase the chances of the project’s success.  

First comes defining the project’s scope, objectives, and goals. The second step is to identify the deliverables.  

After moving on to figuring out what the high-level costs of the project are, it is crucial to conduct a feasibility study to determine what the primary problem could be and its likely resolutions. 

The last action is to distinguish who the stakeholders are, how the project affects them, their needs, and whether their requests conflict. 

The result is a document that sums up all the information gathered in this first phase. 

Many digital platforms used for budgeting, documenting, cost estimation, collaborating, and other uses, can be utilized during this phase to make the process more seamless. 

2. Planning 

The planning phase is indisputably the most crucial stage in the project management lifecycle. It involves defining the project’s work and building all that into a roadmap the team will follow. 

A critical step in this stage is to define the project’s CLEAR or SMART goals, depending on which method the project manager chooses.  

The planning stage entails creating and developing several crucial plans: 

  • Project plan 
  • Financial plan 
  • Resources plan 
  • Quality plan 
  • Risk plan 
  • Acceptance plan  
  • Communication plan 
  • Procurement plan 

Again, many software solutions for creating the plans mentioned above can help ease and accelerate the process. 

3. Execution 

At this point of the lifecycle, the team performs all the activities that are a part of the project’s plan. The project manager leads the team and helps with the project delivery. They create tasks and keep the team up to speed with them. 

Throughout the execution stage, an important step is ensuring that the deliverables are up to the agreed criteria and keeping the stakeholders updated on the project’s progress. 

Digital project management tools are a great way to inform the team of new tasks and to keep an eye on the project’s development.

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4. Monitoring & Controlling 

Monitoring and controlling a project’s performance might be the most complex phase. It entails ensuring everything is in order and, if that is not the case, figuring out ways to keep the project going in the right direction. 

Capturing data using digital project management tools is the perfect way to monitor the project’s timeline and compare it against the original plan. 

This data is juxtaposed with task timeline, cost, quality, and success metrics to ensure the project’s progress meets the agreed-upon objectives. 

If they don’t align with the initial outline, the project manager must plan for additional options to ensure the deliverables meet the client’s requirements and follow the timeline, budget, and quality constraints. 

5. Closure 

At this point, the project is technically over.  

However, the project manager’s job is still not entirely done. 

It is beneficial to have a post-project review meeting to discuss the overall project performance and the team’s strengths and weaknesses.  

By analyzing data with digital software, the project manager and their team can gain a fantastic insight into what didn’t go quite well and what can be done to improve in the future. 

The closing phase is also the perfect time to analyze the team and recognize and acknowledge vital members.  

Ways to Improve Digital Project Management Processes

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1. Descriptive & Predictive Analytics   

Project management relies heavily on descriptive data to gain insight into possible improvements for future processes. 

However, the implications of predictive analytics are far more significant.  

It enables organizations to analyze and use large amounts of data in decision-making. And big data analyses bear tremendous potential in project management. 

Predictive analytics combined with machine learning can be used in multitudinous scenarios. The most vital include predicting the length and duration of the project lifecycle and distinguishing risky actions. 

In addition, they provide support for and increase the quality of future project planning, suggest recommendations based on previous data, and offer reasonable actions to prevent damage. 

There are many successful stories about utilizing descriptive and predictive analytics. For instance, by using data analytics to improve its customer retention strategies, Netflix reportedly saves $1 billion annually.  

Additionally, another case study looks at a large financial corporation that met all project goals nine months ahead of schedule and 15% under budget.  

2. Enhanced Accountability: A Clear Process Owner   

Another excellent way to improve the digital project management processes is to assign a process owner. This can be an individual or a team overseeing the processes’ creation and progress.  

In most companies, the Project Management Office is responsible and ensures all project managers are on the same track. 

Having a designated and clear process owner enhances accountability since a single person or group is in charge of aligning the processes and how they are carried out throughout an organization.   

3. Managed Expectations   

Expectations are inevitable.  

People will always have expectations about a situation’s outcome.  

In project management, it is crucial to manage expectations between stakeholders, clients, and the team to ensure everyone is on the same page. Not managing expectations can lead to poor team engagement, unclear objectives, and reduced trust between all parties.  

And this should be done not only at the beginning of the project but throughout the whole lifecycle. Regarding project planning, it should be clear what is expected of the project’s scope and objectives. 

But also, in the execution stage, the team and the client should always be kept in the loop. Proactively managing expectations leads to successful projects, happy clients, and engaged teams. 

4. Risk Management   

Case studies show that risk management can help the team make the right decision at the right time to identify, classify, quantify the risks, and then manage and control them. 

However, risk management shouldn’t be reactive only.  

In fact, it should be included from the beginning of the project’s initiation phases to determine the possible risks and develop strategies for dealing with them. 

5. Project Management Software   

In today’s world of technology, project management software is an absolute necessity. It allows project managers to centralize project planning, scheduling, budgeting, communication, and collaboration. 

Depending on how the user utilizes the software, it can be divided into three types. 

  • Individual 

A single project manager uses this type of software. They can be installed across the organization, but it doesn’t connect the individual users. 

They can take the form of spreadsheets or project planning software. The “individual” here refers to a single person using the software. 

  • Collaborative 

The collaborative software brings together entire teams around the same data source. All team members can access, view, and edit this data. 

Depending on the organization’s needs, this software can be low-tech tools, like storing project documentation, up to project planning software which includes big data. 

One important thing to note is that they relate to only one project. Multiple people can access the software, but it only includes one project. 

  • Integrated 

Integrated software is probably the best solution for project management software since it can include several projects simultaneously. Every team member can access all the information stored in the software.  

A remarkable characteristic of integrated software is that it can round up information on current and previous projects into a single-frame view so that managers can consolidate different data and make comparisons easily. 

This type of software usually involves various tools such as portfolio management, time tracking, scheduling, task dependencies, and in-app messaging. 


Companies that use digital project management have the upper hand because utilizing different technologies enables them to ease the project of managing a project and keeps them competitive in today’s market.

Written by Marija Petrushevska | Content Writer at Shortlister
Written by Marija Petrushevska | Content Writer at Shortlister