“On the one hand, digitalization is expected to provide a boost for project management, as this is mainly driven by projects. Will the project leader be networked as a generalist due to the increasing complexity of the control center, the increasingly distributed and interdisciplinary teams, often also from different organizations?” asks the project magazine in a blog parade on project leader 2030. I would like to take part in this.

The project manager today!

What about the project manager today? A key word is probably the professional management of employees in the matrix organization. A kind of toothless tiger that has to get people to work for their project in addition to their day-to-day business. It is rare to be assigned full-time staff, because even if you do, the employee is often still in 5 other projects. At least that’s my impression. The project manager must therefore motivate and bring the different stakeholders together and keep the project running. But the question remains: What does digital change do with a project leader? As from the project magazine, will he become a control centre for the increasingly distributed and interdisciplinary teams, often also from different organizations, as a generalist?

Reading tip: Generalist or specialist?

Roundtable on the future of the PMO

I did a study some time ago to answer this question. For this purpose, I have brought together various participants from the field of project management to a roundtable. The full report is available in the minutes of the fourth roundtable. Below are the participants of the Roundtable. The study can also be found in Lindner et al. (2017) in the HMD – Practice of Business Informatics and was created in the course of my doctoral thesis. However, the results serve well to give concrete to the project leader 2030.

Participants of this roundtable:

Company Position Article Number of MA
Logistics Team leader PMO Group 30.000
Finance Team leader PMO Group 188.000
IT service providers Consultant PMO Smes 100
Retailers Project managers Smes 500
Retailers Project managers Smes 500
Logistics Portfolio Managers Group 65.000
Textile industry Team leader PMO Group 14.000

Together with this expert from the field of PMO (project management office), consultant for project management and project manager, we talked about the daily work and found that digital change already influences the work of the experts from the project management present. In the study by Lindner et al. (2017) are the following examples:

  • A development team based in India, with whom communication only takes place via Jira (https://de.atlassian.com/software/jira) and e-mail as well as Skype
  • Distributed team at different locations, which has two rule dates for one meeting per month and works together virtually through web sessions
  • Meetings often take place with the help of mobile technologies in a neutral location, such as a café between locations
  • Possibility to consult the best professionals worldwide
  • Locations in rural areas can access key site professionals
  • Employees can be held after site resolution (4 days home office – 1 day at the main location)
  • Massive number of emails, notifications and other toolinternal messages often at the same time
  • Communication often runs on more than one channel at a time (notification via Skype that an email has been sent)

Conclusion #Projektleiter2030

What can be inferred from this for the project manager of the future? It is time for the project manager to take over the management of projects using tools. All communication is via various channels (analog as well as digital) at the project manager. In addition to the massive mails and notify, these are also calls and face-to-face conversations. Furthermore, the work seems to be becoming more distributed. While experts around the world communicate with the project leader and distribute this work via tools such as Jira or the like, he must certainly also meet stakeholders and project staff on site.

According to the results of the roundtable, the question of the project magazine: “Will the project leader be at least partially supported by arguments due to the increasing complexity of the control centre, the increasingly distributed and interdisciplinary teams, often also from different organizations, as generalist?” The project leader will act in a mixture of analog and digital media with distributed teams and control them via tools via Jira or similar. With him, communication of all kinds will converge and he must be present in both virtual and analogue space at the same time. One might almost suspect that it is an interface between the analogue and digital worlds.

Reading tip: The digital workplace

Many thanks to the project magazine! With this article I won the first prize of the blog parade and can look forward to an exclusive ticket for the PM World 2018!

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

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Verwendete Quellen anzeigen

Lindner, D., Ott, M., & Leyh, C. (2017). The digital workplace – SMEs between tradition and change. HMD – Practice of Business Informatics, (6), 1-17.

Image source: Designed by Freepik by JComp


I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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