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Digitalization And The Changing Role Of PPM

Written by Mike Gruia on February 11th, 2015 at 4:01 pm

I am an avid proponent of the transformative effects of technology. Indeed, digitalizing traditional PPM is core to our mission of helping organizations bridge the gap between strategy and execution. That’s why the recent Q&A with Gartner “Thriving on Digital Chaos” caught my attention.

It’s an interesting read, one that touches on the disruptive impact that technology is having on today’s PPM professionals. One point in particular really resonated with me – traditional know-how is no longer enough for PPM professionals.

For years, PPM has operated based on principles handed down from the dawn of the information age. Generations of PPM professionals have continued to use the same project- and portfolio-centric tools and processes to manage enterprise investments.

I’ve written about the importance of elevating the role of PPM. Today’s PMO and PPM professionals need to take a more strategic role in squeezing maximum business value out of enterprise investments as opposed to simply managing projects. Taking a capabilities-based approach to planning, integrating investment planning and controls with PPM and connecting portfolios to provide investments with an enterprise context – these are all concepts that today’s Strategic PMOs must embrace.

One of the questions Gartner asks is how digitalization impacts PPM. It’s safe to say that digitalization triggers an increase in many things, including:

  • the speed of change
  • disruptions that drive the need for innovation
  • Complexity
  • the need for connectivity, because everything is connected to everything else

In fact, the PPM is actually being split in two. PPM professionals will need to choose a track – either maintain the old/tactical/foundational PPM role or adapt and become a new/vanguard/strategic PPM. Whichever path one chooses, it’s clear that management is unhappy with current PPM roles. They are looking for PPM to produce business results and not consume all their time focused on execution.

Gartner’s final word of advice echoes the advice that UMT360 provides to our clients. Stop trying to apply past experience and yesterday’s tools and practices to today’s challenges. Our digital world requires a new mindset, one that integrates a strategic perspective with the proven strengths of traditional project management. Clearly, the status quo is no longer good enough.

This may seem like bad news to some who would rather stick to tried-and true methods. But it’s good news to many others, who are poised to embrace the change and adopt new approaches and innovations. So which one are you?

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