The transformation of Project Management by AI

Project Management and AI

This is a brief insight on the increased rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning within organisations and daily life which has occurred over the last few years. On a daily basis there are aspects of AI around us, whether it be at home with Alexa in the living room, to Gmail smart reply. Today Google robotic can call a preferred hairdresser to arrange an appointment and self-driving cars on the road is not too far away from being a reality. The onset of AI in daily home life will drive itself into work life, and project management will not be immune from the impact.

Although no one knows at this stage the impact it will have on the daily work effort or delivery of a project for a project manager, one thing is certain, a change to the landscape is imminent. As organisations across all industries are looking for AI opportunities to remain competitive by tapping inti their data. Approximately 80 percent of businesses across the globe are currently investing in AI, this cannot be ignored.

Examples of this can be seen within, Zurich Insurance Group which is using intelligent bots to deal with personal injury claims. Otto, a German retailer adopted AI and ML to autonomously make operational decisions at a scale that humans cannot match.

It is human nature to be concerned about the impact AI will have on job security and availability. A number of jobs which seem quite complex will be disrupted by widespread adoption of AI in 15 – 20 years’ time, this includes:

  • journalists,
  • drivers,
  • chefs,
  • financial analysts
  • lawyers

It is expected that almost 73 million jobs are at risk of being replaced by 2030, this invariably means that new ones will be created to accommodate the change, as even AI will need to be supported.

AI shouldn’t be feared but embraced as the future for human employees may be improved by the adoption of AI to perform jobs. It may even become the best team member, especially for Project Managers.

Some areas AI, predictive analytics and machine learning may have an impact on project delivery once in full swing. Areas such as risk estimation;

  • Throughout the life cycle, every project encounters a number of uncertainties and risks that can trigger a failure, which the project team should analyse and respond to base on their knowledge, experience and available tools.
  • The difficulty with the ongoing risk assessment can turn into a catastrophe if the team fails to identify threats on time –  but what if a sophisticated, self-learning machine could evaluate historical information, issue logs to come up with an enhanced risk rating model? 
  • Machine learning enables computers to use project information and advanced algorithms to predict results and determine the potential threats and vulnerabilities influencing your project.
  • Project Managers will save considerable time, money and resources through the implementation of AI.

Resource management is another area which will benefit or be affected by AI;

  • As a Project Manager, you have to reassess the progress, time-frames and costs multiple times over the course of the project.
  • AI provides insight into the history of previous projects and can offer real-time resource management information. 
  • This will help to manage any additional resources or take people off the project if a disparity rises in the hours required versus projected availability.

Artificial Intelligence can be a distinctive accelerator and game changer, and Project Managers should embrace the technology and leverage AI where possible.  AI should be considered as an assistant not replacement of Project Managers.  This way the Project Manager can spend more time on more value-adding activities while delegating many project management tasks to the intelligent machines.

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