248-848-9500 (U.S.) / 905-473-3404 (Canada) / +52-662-171-5137 (Mexico) / contactus@sandalwood.com

Volume 5 | September 2022


Human-Centered. Solutions Driven.

Project Management in Digital Transformation

By Paul Lagroix, Director Systems Integration

It is easy for the need for project management to get overshadowed by the flashier, more technical aspects of projects including the technologies themselves.  There can be a belief that as long as you pick the right software and an integration team with a strong technical background, then you have everything you need for a successful implementation.  This is not always the case.

You might not always be in a position to use project management services when completing an integration.    Often opting to manage the effort internally or undervaluing proper project management, the choice is made to go without.  It’s clear from project success rates, that the value of project management for Digital Transformation projects cannot be overstated. It’s a critical factor (sometimes the most critical) in the success of the project and for the successful adoption of the new system. The primary reason some smart manufacturing initiatives fail is not poor technology or poor integration to other systems, it’s the lack of acceptance and adoption of the new system within the customer. 

What are the most common reasons a new system might not be accepted within a customer? 

  • Was the system properly designed?
  • Were the right stakeholders consulted?
  • Were the targeted gains committed to and tracked after implementation?
  • Were the system requirements properly documented and approved by a cross functional team of stakeholders? Were customer processes adapted to include the use of the new system within standard work practices?
  • Was proper time spent explaining to current users why the new system adds value and how it can benefit them? Were all users and stakeholders properly trained on the use of the system?
  • Was the appropriate Project Management methodology chosen?
  • Was the Project Management approach determine?
  • Were the strategic Project Management resources allocated?


Around all of these questions, and many more, an effective project manager would ensure the team members are properly considering and planning for these items.  As the complexity and technical challenges on a project increase, the need for better planning and execution increases exponentially.  A project manager can help bring order to this chaos.  Even better, an experienced project manager, that has been through similar projects previously, can help point out potential issues and work with the team to get them addressed before they become major problems impacting cost, quality and/or timing.

Projects ranging in sophistication require that the more advanced the opportunity for manufacturing solutions, the more stakeholders and data sources tend to be involved, which makes professional project management more critical to success.

It’s clear that projects are more successful when the elements of project management are considered and decided upon up front, with critical buy-in from key stakeholders.