Big Data and its Impact on Project Management

Big Data and its Impact on Project Management

Insights | 15 April 2019

Big data is less about individual technologies and more about the competitive advantage strategic analysis of these (extremely large) data sets can bring to an organisation.

The big data opportunity is now understood to have major implications for almost every discipline, including project management. A study[1] into the future of work in Australia by the Centre for Workplace Leadership – a partnership between the University of Melbourne and the Commonwealth Department of Employment, found a steady decline in employment based on routine manual labor since the 1980s and a consistent rise in jobs that feature more abstract cognitive tasks. That means a shift toward more knowledge work, including project management.

With the big picture framed, consider the perspective from thinkers within the disciplines of project management.

There are two core areas where PMs could feel the greatest impact of big data, according to the International Project Management Association[2]:

  • Better individual project performance. Data is already being used to develop “new science and protocols for improved planning, control and delivery of projects.” This includes using data science to form optimal teams and pulling knowledge out of archives and into more robust, everyday use, the IPMA says.
  • More robust project ecosystems. Data analysis will also shape “the future of overall project ecosystems,” according to the IPMA. For example, big data will help organisations increase their “TALK” capabilities (technology readiness, awareness, leadership competence, knowledge) as well as presenting future-forward applications such as “mock-scenario project management applications to prepare organisations to deal with disaster recovery, business continuity, aid and relief projects, and emergency situation projects…”

Here’s more of what our experts and others are predicting for the future of big data and project management:

Higher demand for PM jobs

The advent of big data means, ever-so simply, more and more data. With more project data at our disposal, the greater the need for smart PMs to make sense of it all. Expect an increasing number of PM jobs to call out data/analytics experience.

Higher salaries for data skills

According to a 2018 LinkedIn report[3], the second-highest in-demand skill is Statistical Analysis and Data Mining, right after Cloud and Distributed Computing. But don’t forget to keep up with your soft skills. LiquidPlanner, the project management tool, encourages every PM to become “CLO”—their project’s Chief Learning Officer[4].

According to LiquidPlanner, this means:

  • Performing gap analyses for big data skills.
  • Securing executive sponsorship for “big data-related training and continuing education.”
  • Planning to fill knowledge gaps with “free and fee-based training” online, in-house, and through third party providers. See our latest training courses for project managers.[5]
  • Tying the acquisition of big data literacy to “team member performance reviews.”

Benefits realisation

The IPMA analysis[6] went on to show a clear line between the rise of big data and impact on benefits realisation. Here’s more: “Benefit realisation should be the core of project management activities, however, it has not received the deserved attention. Given the nature of tangible and intangible benefits, once again considerable data is available at the organisational level on how much an organisation has invested in projects and what benefits they expect. In some cases, data will also be available to link project investments to benefit realisation… Big data analytics can be used to analyse data on project investments, planned benefits, and benefit realisation to help further enhance knowledge and develop benefit realisation standards and processes.”

Clearly, there is wide open opportunity to exploit the growth of big data to advance the skill and practice of project management. Individuals should focus on increasing their data literacy and continue to look for ways to leverage the power of big data across their project ecosystems.

Does your organisation require assistance finding the right resources to make your project a success? Contact us today on +65 6818 5771






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