With the majority of our lives spent in front of computers, smartphones, and online devices, there’s been a significant increase in the popularity of digital projects.
The need for digital projects and content means that digital project management is more prevalent and there is a need for digital project managers.
If you are wondering exactly just what this means and wanted to learn more about the digital project management process you have come to the right place.
So, let’s get right to it.
But first, what are digital projects?
What is a Digital Project?
Digital products are those products that are both developed and delivered digitally.
Let’s break this down further, a project is when your organization either starts, improves, changes, or dissolves a product, function, or service. If this product, function, or service is on a digital platform then it can be deemed a digital project.
In other words, a digital project is either an individual or collaborative undertaking which is planned in such a way that it achieves introducing, transforming, or managing digital operations and strategies.
What are the Different Kinds of Digital Projects?
If you work as a digital project manager, there are many different types of digital projects you could work on. Just to name a few:
- Website design and development
- Software development
- Mobile app development
- User experience design and user interface design
- Content strategy
- Digital marketing campaigns
- Search engine optimization projects
- Search engine marketing projects
These examples of possible digital projects are fairly narrow. Such smaller projects you are likely to receive in your organization at some point, whether such projects are finite or continuous.
Alternatively, you may also face wider projects that are larger and continuous in nature. Such projects can include:
- Process transformation– You may be employed to reinvent the business process and undertake a process transformation project. Due to modern technology like APIs and analytics such operations are undertaken to lower costs, increase quality, and reduce cycle times.
- Domain transformation– Another larger project you may receive is domain transformation, this could be possible due to your organization expanding into another industry.
- Business model transformation– Another broader project is when companies want to transform their entire business model. This could require creating value in new ways for your organization and are comprehensive projects that involve multiple stakeholders and business units.
- Organizational or cultural transformation– As we mentioned previously there has been a shift in consumer behavior and a rise in a digital wave, this has led to companies embracing a culture of innovation. Such a digital transformation is a long-term project.
We have mentioned two major types of digital projects, that is narrow type projects and wider projects. There are certain factors that play a part in determining what type of digital project you will be facing.
Let’s go over each of these factors in turn.
The project scope often determines whether your project is large or small. Project scope is all the aspects of a project and what deliverables and outcomes are expected of the project. It is the reach, scale, and impact of your project and specifies the work details involved, the resources, and those factors necessary to deem the project a success.
The second factor in determining the type of project is the project timeframe. Projects can either be short, long, finite, or continuous.
The cost or budget of a project is also another determining factor. Projects can be relatively cheap or very expensive. This usually depends on the scope of the project, the project’s timeframe, and also the way the project is planned, organized and prioritized.
When talking about the scope, the number of stakeholders involved can shape the scope of the project and in term determine the type of project.
Whether your project is within one department, across different departments, across different organizations, or even different geographical locations can be seen from the modes of communication chosen.
The Digital Project Management Process
Now that you know what digital projects are and the different types of digital projects that can be undertaken it is time to start talking about the digital project management process.
While digital projects can be managed through the application of different project management methodologies there are some basic steps that can be said to be common for each digital project.
A brief note on project management methodologies: Project management methodologies can be described as a set of principles that guide the processes a project manager and their team follow while managing a project.
To read about the most common and popular project management methodologies check out this blog post on the 18 top project management methodologies to use in 2020.
A digital project, arguably similar to typical projects goes through 5 basic steps or processes. These steps make up the project lifecycle.
While both forms of project management might go through steps in the project lifecycle, the particular steps that each follow or go through can be seen to be different.
For a digital project, the basic steps any digital project goes through can be said to be the following 5:
- Initial planning
- Testing and deployment
Let’s go through each step or process in turn.
Similar to typical projects, planning is an essential part of the management of digital projects as well.
The initial planning phase of the project lifecycle includes laying out and brainstorming the idea behind the project, and evaluating the elements of the project and all the options and possibilities available.
This planning eventually leads to the project proposal which is a fundamental document in the project lifecycle.
The initial planning phase of the project lifecycle includes brainstorming with the client and ironing out the defined requirements of the project as well as an estimate of the timeframe and budget.
You will also plan with your team and outline roles and milestones.
After the initial planning, it is time to straighten out and properly lay out the entire project in the second phase which involves further planning in the scoping phase.
In this stage, you will define the functionality, requirements, and the layout, plan, or roadmap to how you plan to get these. This is usually done with the client and the stakeholders that are involved in the project.
During this phase, a detailed plan for the implementation of the initial idea of the project is outlined and is put into a proper plan.
This is when the different teams are also involved. Creative teams are often engaged in this process and user experience is designed.
The statement of work is the project document that comes out of this stage of the project lifecycle and is handed over to the relevant stakeholders who are involved. The statement of work includes the budget and the initial requirements which should be signed by the client and the organization undertaking the project.
In this stage of the project lifecycle, the requirements of the project and the planned-out design specifications are given to the development team.
This is the stage where the implementation of these plans can begin.
The development process of the project will follow a typical progression from back-end to front-end.
Once the development team gets to work, stakeholders are often brought in once again to allow for revision and polishing to be done in collaboration with the client.
With feedback from the client and stakeholders, adjustments are made.
This stage ensures that final touches are made so that the product of the project can be ready for testing and then deployment.
Testing and Deployment
Before a product can be handed over to the end-user, the deployment stage of the project lifecycle has to be done.
This stage of the process involves the testing of the product, here different use cases are considered.
Quality assurance is also undertaken. This is important before the product can go live to the end-user.
You must ensure that all requirements and specifications which were initially outlined have been implemented successfully.
Once testing is done, the project product is deployed and goes live to the user.
Once the product has been delivered the project lifecycle is not over, and the maintenance stage starts.
Maintenance is a continuous phase and involves improving functionality, stability, while also offering support for the product users.
This stage also involves fixing any bugs that may arise.
These are the five stages of the digital project lifecycle. Remember this is just a general process of how usual digital projects progress. This process may differ depending on the project you are working on, and the details of each phase are definitely dependent on individual projects.
There you have it, the digital project management process.
During the digital project lifecycle, it is important to ensure that the project remains in scope, in the budget, and within the schedule to have your project reach its outcome successfully.
One way to ensure this is to adopt what many project managers do, which is investing in the help of a project management tool.
Why not try out nTask. nTask is a project management tool that provides everything you could need to manage your project all within one platform so that you are not juggling between different apps and trying to keep on top of the entire project.