Experts Blog

“Project management as a catalyst of successful digital initiatives”: interview with Torsten Wolff

  • Unic Author

Torsten Wolff is a Senior Project Manager and a Team Leader at Unic in the area of e-Commerce in Karlsruhe. He has dealt with the topics of project management and digital business models in the course of his whole professional career. Armed with great commitment and expertise, he manages projects from the idea to the rollout and is at the same time prudent to draw attention to individual competencies of the members of his mostly interdisciplinary project team.

Torsten, what distinguishes your work as a Senior Project Manager and a Team Leader?

My work is a nice mix of classical project management activities, which I perform in my role as a project manager of a customer project, with management tasks which I accomplish in my responsibility as a disciplinary management staff member. This combination makes me perform diverse actions in my daily work routine. The component that integrates both these areas is close cooperation with people (customers and employees).

Before you began working at Unic you acted as a Project Manager on the customer side: how your new job is different?

Basically, the tasks of a Project Manager on the customer side are similar to those of a Project Manager on the service provider side. However, what I find more important is the commitment to comply with the promises about the time, scope and budget made to the customer or employer.

I am very glad that project management is regarded by Unic as a significant success factor in projects and is accordingly supported with processes, tools and competencies. The enterprise for which I worked previously did not always emphasise that so much.

What is your key motivation factor?

I have much fun when I make progress with topics and projects with a team and lead to their successful completion. In the process, I am excited to eliminate the occurring problems and obstacles and to accompany the team on their way. The closer the go-live date, the more happy I am to reap the fruits of the project work.

In your double role as a Team Leader and a Senior Project Manager you cooperate closely with other disciplines. What is your recipe for success in such cooperation?

Even though I no longer develop myself as a “hello world,” I have still cooperated for more than ten years with interdisciplinary development teams and thanks to that I have developed a feel and understanding of various values, needs and requirements of individual disciplines. For me, an important success factor is to take into account diverse viewpoints of the participating disciplines and to grant experts in their respective areas the necessary freedom to design and decide.

Recently you have taken part in the PM Camp in Karlsruhe. Please share your impressions.

The PM Camp in Karlsruhe was a so-called “un-conference” concerning project management, during which we exchanged our ideas about diverse topics in the area of project management at spontaneously initiated sessions. I appreciate the local nature of the event, because I had an opportunity to establish contacts with colleagues from the region and to share experiences related to various project management topics, tools and methodologies with them.

Where are trends in project management in your opinion?

Although the topic of “agile project management” is no longer new, I am convinced that the methodologies and application areas are still developing further and agile project management is introduced more and more often also in the “traditional” enterprises. As far as software development is concerned, I encounter virtually no project in which the introduction of agile project management tools is not at least tested. However, Unic as a service provider should always consider, in my opinion, the context in which a given project management methodology makes sense, and in addition I still encounter also mixed forms of the traditional and agile project management.

What challenges will be faced by project management in e-Commerce in the coming years?

On the one hand, I think that the expectations of companies as regards a quick time to market of their e-Commerce activities are increasing, and thus we have to work out appropriate ideas and concepts to live up to this challenge on the part of project management. On the other hand, I feel that we, as Project Managers, are assigned an advisory role to an increasingly greater extent. This means that we should be in position not only to accompany the customer in the execution of their projects but also to prepare ourselves for advising our customers to a certain extent also in terms of content of their e-Commerce projects.