Leveraging the Zeigarnik Effect for Successful Digitalization and IT Project Management

As IT project managers, we are faced with a constant array of challenges and obstacles that can test our resolve. Michael Jordan’s quote, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying,” highlights the importance of not giving up in the face of these challenges and obstacles. Failure is a natural part of the learning process and should be embraced as an opportunity to learn and grow.

As senior IT project managers, it is our responsibility to lead by example and inspire others to never give up. We must demonstrate the importance of perseverance and determination to our teams and encourage them to keep pushing through tough times. Additionally, we must be willing to take risks and try new things, even if it means the possibility of failure.

The Zeigarnik effect, first described by psychologist Bluma Wulfovna Zeigarnik in the 1920s, states that individuals tend to remember unfinished or interrupted tasks better than completed ones (Zeigarnik, 1927). In the field of IT project management, this effect can have a significant impact on the success of digitalization and AI projects. One key way to leverage the Zeigarnik effect is to focus on setting clear, specific, and achievable goals for each task and project (Klein, 1999). This helps to ensure that IT projects are well-defined and that team members understand their individual roles and responsibilities within the project. Additionally, regularly tracking progress and providing feedback to team members is crucial (Kerzner, 2017) to keep the team engaged and motivated.

Clear communication is also an important aspect of managing digitalization and AI projects. It is essential to establish a clear communication channel between team members and stakeholders (Jha & Leach, 2008) to ensure everyone is on the same page and that questions and feedback can be easily shared. This can help foster an environment of open communication and make team members more invested in the project.

As leaders in the field of AI, it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and advancements in the field (Bostrom & Yudkowsky, 2014) to identify potential opportunities for innovation and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to digitalization and AI projects.

In conclusion, as IT project managers, it is important to embrace challenges and obstacles as opportunities to learn and grow. By utilizing the Zeigarnik effect, setting clear goals, providing regular feedback, fostering open communication, and staying informed about the latest developments in the field, we can ensure the success of digitalization and AI projects, and inspire our team members to do the same.


Bostrom, N., & Yudkowsky, E. (2014). The ethics of artificial intelligence. Cambridge University Press.

Jha, K., & Leach, L. (2008). Achieving success in global IT projects. International Journal of Project Management, 26(6), 667-675.

Kerzner, H. (2017). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.

Klein, G. (1999). Sources of power: how people make decisions. MIT press.

Zeigarnik, B. (1927). On finished and unfinished tasks. Acta Psychologica, 8(1), 85-92.