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Leadership & Team ManagementPM Best PracticesScope ManagementTopics

10 Sound Strategies (And Statistics) For Scaling Digital Projects

It comes as no surprise that the pandemic has caused sweeping changes in how we work and where we focus. Digital transformation went from something that was aspirational to something that was hardline required.

And with that has come a surge in demand for content to support those digital activities. To keep up with workflow needs and avoid scope creep, digital project managers need to double-down on strategies that improve efficiency and keep everyone on the same page.

As someone who owns digital projects for a fast-growing B2B technology company, Brandfolder, I see first hand within our own organization and for our customers how rapidly this change is happening and how ready companies are to dive head-first into areas where they were barely willing to dip toes in pre-pandemic.

As a result, I wanted to summarize some of the digital strategies I’ve seen be most helpful in coping with change and scaling quickly, for anyone else working through some of the same challenges I’ve dealt with. I’ve culled them down to the top 10 and included some useful stats below on how businesses are adapting to better scale digital projects:

Across The Board, Companies Go All In On Digital Transformation

Today’s rapid digital transformation increased the volume and budgets dedicated toward digital projects, especially as COVID-related factors pushed everything possible online. Gartner’s 2021 CEO Survey found that companies increased investments in digital business capabilities, giving digital project managers an important seat at the table.

And it’s not a small jump. Annual growth rates of the digital transformation market are expected to increase 23% from 2019 and reach $3.3 billion by 2025. Of the often substantial budget cuts companies are making as a result of COVID-19, only 9% come from digital transformation initiatives.

So how do we manage such significant growth effectively? Being purposeful about your approach is key. Here’s how to stay on track in a world that’s continuing to change—and fast.

1. Design A Digital-First Strategy

89% of companies have embraced a digital-first business strategy or are working to do so.

(Source: IDG)

Companies must now rely heavily on digital strategies to meet their overall business objectives. Marketing, IT, engineering, sure, that’s a given; but how about HR, sales, field operations? Absolutely. Every department of nearly any organization in the world is usually touched by digital.

A digital-first strategy involves everything from the way the people at the top communicate to those at the bottom to how organizations connect with prospects or consumers. As a result, digital assets and avenues are no longer add-ons or afterthoughts; they are central to building and maintaining a growing organization and must be thought about at the forefront of any project.

2. Write An Accurate Project Scope Statement

49% of projects get pushed outside their original scope.

(Source: PMI)

Scope creep can derail or delay projects by wasting valuable resources, both in time and money. Combat the risk by clearly stating project details and assigning specific roles to team members from the outset of the project. Make sure projects are directly aligned with business objectives to help provide clear direction.

And with scopes, the devil is usually in the details. It requires understanding of what’s coming and the utmost transparency when communicating expectations for each stakeholder and member of the team. When everyone understands the big picture and how the project fits within that, they can execute their portion and avoid potential pitfalls.

3. Assess Growing Teams And Budgets

$100 trillion will enter the world economy by 2025 due to digital transformation.

(Source: World Economic Forum)

While that’s a testament to the opportunity, organizations should carefully assess their needs and goals to properly prioritize and allocate funds to specific projects. Conduct an audit and maintain careful log of your tech stack, ensuring that each service or platform is working with each other and your ecosystem is as efficient as possible.

With solutions that emphasize collaboration such as digital asset management (DAM) platforms and collaborative work management (CWM), it’s easier than it ever has been to get the right fit for your team and project.

4. Identify And Mitigate Risk Early

44% of companies say they’re prepared for expected digital disruption in their industry.

(Source: MITSloan)

With the digital age comes a unique—and often rapidly evolving—set of challenges for projects. From lack of transparency that wastes resources to compliance and legal issues that delay or add costs to projects, organizations need systems that address these risks. Project management platforms that provide internal controls and visibility, like approvals, templating and automation, can help prepare an organization to navigate any obstacles.

5. Maximize Speed Through Collaboration

36% of executives say speed-to-market is one of the top benefits of digital transformation.

(Source: PTC)

Collaboration and communication within and between teams are essential to efficient project workflows. This likely comes as no surprise. Still, decentralized data and assets often hamper speed and efficiency for teams. More organizations are implementing intuitive collaboration tools to optimize their teams.

Digital asset platforms, like Brandfolder, create a central source of truth that enables better collaboration and reduces bottlenecks. And project management platforms, like Smartsheet, provide transparency, clearly outline responsibilities, and keep all team members working from the same roadmap. Used together, these tools foster collaboration that helps launch and scale projects.

6. Invest In Cloud Technologies

60% of all North American enterprises now rely on public cloud platforms.

(Source: Forrester)

Cloud services help limit scope creep by providing inherent transparency throughout project stages, especially with today’s distributed teams. Today’s cloud SaaS, such as DAM platforms, offers improved security and automated management and maintenance, reducing the burden of resources on IT departments. Scalable solutions, like the cloud, help digital project managers keep up with growing demand and reduce potential downtime.

7. Create A Technology Ecosystem Built On Adoption

70% of digital transformations fail, most often due to lack of adoption from employees.

(Source: McKinsey)

The return on investment from SaaS platforms largely depends on adoption. Truth is, ‘failure to launch’ is one of the most common reasons platforms aren’t successful. With that in mind, ease-of-use is just as important as functionality. Organizations of all sizes need to consider the intuitiveness of platforms they’re considering.

Implementing any technology also needs buy-in from senior stakeholders who will champion its use. This includes ongoing communication and support, either from an in-house IT department or from customer success teams at the platform itself.

8. Set Project Management Methodologies

39% of organizations reported that their companies utilized hybrid methodologies.

(Source: Hubstaff)

Choosing the right project management methodology is critical for delivering projects within budget and in the way that best suits the business. Platforms often offer flexibility in use, and organizations can choose from one of these four common practices.

  • Waterfall is popular in software engineering and IT, aptly named because it uses a sequential, single direction process that flows like a waterfall.
  • Agile is an incremental approach to project management that welcomes feedback from users and evolves throughout the process.
  • Scrum is a popular framework where products are created in short iterations, known as sprints.
  • Kanban is a visual project management framework that encourages small, incremental updates to projects or systems.

9. Enforce The Change Request Process

66% of projects remain within budget at companies that use project management platforms vs 47% at companies that don’t.

(Source: PMI)

More than ever marketing departments are accounting for the fact that customer needs can and will change… quickly. As a result, that same understanding must also be applied to the digital content a brand uses. Change requests are inevitable but digital project managers can establish processes that are agile yet don’t deviate in scope.

DAM coupled with project management strategies help organizations streamline processes across teams, offering visibility and automating the review workflow. When teams stay in sync, timelines and budgets stay intact.

10. Customer Experience And Personalization Should Remain Top Of Mind

81% of marketers expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of customer experience in the next two years.

(Source: Gartner)

Digital customer experience is increasingly important, and should be a top priority of any organization. Consistency and personalization are a growing expectation in today’s buyer journey where audiences are choosing not only a product but also a brand they most closely identify with.

When the customer experience is strong, they’re more likely to become brand ambassadors and repeat customers. Personalization efforts can be time consuming and repetitive for marketing departments to execute. However, digital project managers can streamline the process with tactics like using templates.

Unite Your Teams And Enhance Project Efficiency: How DAM Helps

In today’s crowded marketplace, quickly launching projects while staying on-brand is vital across all of a business’s activities. As a central source of truth for teams, digital asset management can be a core tool to that mission.

Brandfolder, for example, offers access to relevant project materials and details, helps teams understand content gaps, and removes common roadblocks in the production process. It’s a complete collection of all your approved, up-to-date files, that are necessary for companies looking to scale digital projects. Used with a project management platform like Smartsheet, it puts everyone on the same page so projects launch on time and within scope.

Learn how Brandfolder + Smartsheet can help you scale projects and combat scope.

Amanda Turcotte

About Amanda Turcotte

Amanda Turcotte, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Brandfolder. With over 10 years of digital marketing experience, Amanda has worked with companies like Einstein Bros. Bagels and CAT to deliver first-class digital marketing programs.

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