In Conversation with Paul Oppong: Insights into Leading Digital Transformation Projects

In your extensive experience, how do you envision the future of project and portfolio management in the context of ongoing digital transformations?

Paul Oppong: The future of project management is shaping up to be more interconnected and agile. I anticipate a shift where project managers will need to think more like strategists and innovators, orchestrating a harmonious blend of technologies, people, and processes. The focus will not just be on timely delivery but also on creating value and fostering innovation.

Can you share insights on a principle or strategy that you’ve found to be unconventional yet effective in leading technology projects?

Paul Oppong: Certainly. One strategy that might seem unconventional but has proven effective is adopting a ‘listening-first’ approach. In an environment where everyone is eager to implement the latest technologies, it’s easy to overlook the needs of the end-users. By actively listening to all stakeholders, from team members to end-users, we can uncover nuances and create solutions that are not just technically sound but also deeply aligned with user needs.

How do you foster a culture of continuous learning and innovation within your teams and projects?

Paul Oppong: Cultivating a culture of continuous learning is about creating an environment where curiosity is valued, and exploration is encouraged. I often initiate discussions around new industry developments and encourage team members to bring their insights to the table. This approach keeps us all informed and ignites ideas that can be integrated into our projects, turning them into opportunities for innovation.

Can you share an instance where your approach to a project brought about unexpected but positive results for a client?

Paul Oppong: Certainly. I was leading a project where the client was looking to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM to revamp their stakeholder engagement process. Initially, the client was focused on utilizing the CRM to manage customer interactions. However, during the requirements gathering phase, we identified an opportunity to also streamline internal communications and collaborations between different departments. We implemented features that facilitated better sharing of customer data and feedback within the organization. This approach not only made external stakeholder management more efficient but also fostered a culture of knowledge sharing internally. The client was pleasantly surprised by the additional benefits and reported a noticeable improvement in their internal processes as well.

How do you balance the technical and human aspects of leading digital transformation projects?

Paul Oppong: Striking a balance between the technical and human aspects is crucial for the success of any digital transformation project. On the technical side, it’s about ensuring that the solution is robust, scalable, and aligns with the project goals. On the human side, it’s about understanding the needs, apprehensions, and aspirations of the stakeholders involved.

I make a conscious effort to create an inclusive environment where feedback is encouraged and valued. Regular communication, empathy, and training sessions are some of the methods I use to ensure that everyone is on board and comfortable with the changes. Ultimately, it’s about ensuring that the technology serves the people and not the other way around.

You have actively shared your insights on project management and digital transformation through various publications and speaking engagements. What drives you to engage with the community and contribute to these discussions?

Paul Oppong: My drive to engage with the community comes from a genuine interest in the transformative power of well-executed projects and digital initiatives. Being actively involved allows me to share experiences, learn from my peers, and contribute to shaping best practices in the industry. I believe that through open dialogue and knowledge sharing, we can collectively enhance our approaches and create more impactful and successful projects.

Your work involves leading projects that span across different sectors, including public and private organizations. How do you tailor your approach to meet the unique needs of different clients?

Paul Oppong: The key to success when working across different sectors is adaptability and a deep understanding of the client’s unique context. Each sector comes with its own set of priorities, challenges, and stakeholders. My approach begins with an immersive discovery phase, where I seek to understand the nuances of the client’s environment, objectives, and constraints.

For instance, public sector projects may require a focus on compliance, transparency, and stakeholder engagement, while private sector projects might prioritize efficiency, innovation, and ROI. By tailoring my approach and communication style to align with these specific needs, I ensure that the solutions we deliver are both relevant and impactful.

Given your extensive experience, what advice would you offer to professionals who aspire to lead projects in the digital realm?

Paul Oppong: For professionals aspiring to lead digital projects, I would emphasize the importance of cultivating a blend of technical knowledge and soft skills. Stay curious and invest in continuous learning to keep up with emerging technologies and methodologies. But equally important is developing skills like effective communication, empathy, and teamwork.

Moreover, always approach problems with a solution-oriented mindset and be ready to adapt. The digital realm is dynamic, and being able to pivot and find innovative solutions is invaluable. Lastly, build a strong network within your industry. Engaging with peers can provide new perspectives and opportunities for growth.