Jan 2020 Edition - SMEs Feedbacks

What is the impact of AI on Project Management?

Klaas Hermans
January 2020 Edition
Klaas Hermans

Klaas Hermans

Senior Project Manager at Nike

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To answer the questions simple and plain, no doubt that most projects will be delivered through significant usage of AI in the future.

Technology has been steadily impacting project management and its principles for decades, with the pace accelerating in recent years.

Though not necessarily being AI, project management, has been embracing a lot of integration and automation technology, and is reaping its benefits.

AI might seem a bit scary, yet it is the logical next step.

Rather than run in fear, let us use and treat it as the technology that is the friendly kind that helps (like Sonny in "I, Robot").

Project management and AI co-existing, with AI being the accelerator increasing project success rates.

In the short term, AI will gain traction quickest in the technical aspects of Project Management.

Especially those already using integration and automation practices, and where significant amounts of data can be collected and analyzed.

Think for instance about business case realization, progress tracking, and risk management.

Tools exist in several industries, that can be amended to work for project management (e.g. risk management tools in logistics), or significant amounts of data can be collected quickly.

AI will support facilitating communication to improve accuracy and increase efficiency.

I don't see AI be the game-changer in the people aspect of project management any time soon.

Those who have strong "soft skills", such as leadership, communications, empathy, and people & stakeholder management, will keep adding real value and drive successful change in project management, for a long time coming.

José Gabriel  Rodríguez de Martino
January 2020 Edition
José Gabriel  Rodríguez de Martino

José Gabriel Rodríguez de Martino

Project management - Business & IT Consulting - Artificial Intelligence & cognitive computing

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While Artificial Intelligence is actually a collection of tools, instead of just one indivisible concept, some AI tools can be very supportive for Project Management.

In the immediate term, to help improve performance in aspects common to many projects, we could apply AI for:

  • Communication with the team (using virtual agents to automate communications, remind the team about specific tasks, get information).
  • Effort estimation (for user stories).
  • Risk evaluation / tracking - getting early alerts and a “more objective view” avoiding “workshop blindness”.
  • Report automation (requires opportune / complete project records).
  • Processes automation: while robots have been used for many time to execute stress testing in systems implementations, RPA can help to make it easier and faster including data preparation.

In years to come other AI tools could be very supportive, as the use of machine learning and predictive analytics for aspects as risks evaluation and on time-delivery. This require a lot of data in order to be more effective, so experience from many projects should be captured.

There is also the other arena, the AI projects, where Project managers must have enough knowledge of the specific aspects or tools to be implemented.

In any case, consider:

  • AI works based on information, so quality and huge quantity of data are required for better results.
  • AI must not be applied to projects just as a fashion, but when actual improvement could be obtained from its application.
  • Project managers must be up to date in order to get advantage of AI tools.
Zahra Timsah
January 2020 Edition
Zahra Timsah

Zahra Timsah

CEO of AMCL

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So far, AI has been tasked with all the monotonous deliverables that humans avoid doing. However, as we continue to curate information, we are indirectly contributing to Big Data, making it harder for us to process it and extract value from it. AI can successfully achieve that for us allowing AI and project management to intermix.
First, it is important to realize that project management entails more than just creating and overseeing the implementation of a great plan.
Due to the complexities and interdependencies within a project along with the plethora of variables affecting the development process, project outcomes can become unpredictable. Modern and agile techniques can indeed reduce uncertainties that lead to roadblocks by operating incrementally; however, there is no guarantee for a successful and timely delivery especially when mountains of data and logic are involved.
To tackle projects from all angles, modern AI-based solutions can leverage project management and delivery. AI-powered chatbots, for example, can cognitively respond to the project manager’s needs allowing for efficient delegation, monitoring and organization of task delivery. Importantly, AI can identify errors and delays at any stage in project development thereby ensuring quality, and measuring the risk –reward ratio. One of the most substantial advantages of AI is predictive analytics whereby patterns and insights are drawn from historical data to guide project planning and task prioritization accordingly.

In conclusion, AI cannot replace project managers but will help them see the complete picture when devising and executing a plan thereby improving productivity and efficiency.

Abhisek Mondal
January 2020 Edition
Abhisek Mondal

Abhisek Mondal

Project Manager - Delivery and Business Insights

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Undoubtedly, AI is proving to be one of the most popular emerging trends of this century. However, among project managers in general, there’s a mixed response. While some herald it as a scintillating trend with enormous future potential, others fear it as a threat to their jobs. Although it’s not clear whether and most importantly, by when we would be seeing enough development in AI systems and models smart enough to imitate human decision making, supervised learning – one of the key branches of AI - has already proven to be one of the key techniques in managing complex projects.

What’s interesting to note here is that the use of AI and ML is not only limited to core product-based tech firms focused on EdTech or BFSI or Healthcare sectors, but AI has already found quite a strong user base among the blue-collar labor-intensive industries, such as Construction, Real Estate, and Manufacturing. This trend proves two things:

  • The use of AI is not only limited to the companies focused solely on the Agile project management practices and are now finding usage in the predictive or the conventional waterfall methodologies as well.
  • As most of the firms in these sectors are quite old (at least more than 20 years), they have a sufficiently large database on past project metrics (Earned Values, Contingency utilization, et al) that can be used for developing a better algorithm to support these AI based models.

Hence, it’s only a matter of time that we get to see a paradigm shift in the practice of project management, and surely AI will prove to be a great enabler in defining this course.

Fanny Gallardo
January 2020 Edition
Fanny Gallardo

Fanny Gallardo

Artificial Intelligence Consultant

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We are living in an era where AI is taking more importance everyday in our jobs. As a project manager, we’ve had to adapt to lots of changes during the last years, including our way of working because of agility, and now with AI we can’t stand behind.

When we think on AI we think of robots and probably don’t see how it impacts us, but it does. With AI technologies, we can have a lot of help, for example in predicting our times of completion in our Gantts where by changing some variables, we can know how our times will vary. Another example is looking at our indicators, there are AI platforms that will deliver indicators and conclusions depending on the numbers. This 2 things are examples of things that would take time for us to do and now we have the opportunity of focusing on what is really important and getting the project moving on the time promised.

Some also think that AI will take over us, but it’s not true. Even though some technologies will start automating and helping us with their results, we are still needed! We are needed to make the decisions with those results. We must think that AI has come to help us and get “paper work” out of our way so we can focus on the important parts of our job and get that project moving!

Danka Jokic
January 2020 Edition
Danka Jokic

Danka Jokic

Project manager

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As in many other professions, AI is transforming the traditional way of performing a project management job. In many companies using AI chatbots and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) are becoming standards. They are being implemented on top of the existing team communication, project management or business software applications and used to handle repetitive tasks such as scheduling meetings, asking for the status update, sending task reminders to team members, handling purchase orders, checking project documentation updates or tracking time spent on project activities.

More advanced AI applications include finding patterns in a large amount of data by employing predictive analytics. The results can be used to forecast trends in project KPIs and generate warnings about possible project issues in the future. This way, a project manager may be alerted in case there is a likelihood that the project team cannot deliver the project on time, use prediction to estimate the end date of the project or detect human error patterns in making task duration estimates.

Using AI in their daily work, mainly through automation tools and decision support systems, the project manager can save time and cost on the project and free more time for working with the team instead of spending it on the administrative tasks.

nicola vanin
January 2020 Edition
nicola vanin

nicola vanin

Data Governance & Information Security Senior Manager

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Well, AI can “predict” a given project’s future, and improve its visibility for project teams and managers. It gives them warnings if a project is going off the track with respect to budget or time, and can give intelligent advice on scheduling, budgeting, potential risks, etc.

This function can be a lifesaver for new project managers/team members who might be unfamiliar with the projects previously undertaken by a company.

AI integrates and collects data from various communication and It uses this data to identify if a particular project is going to run into trouble, and the preventive measures that can be taken for the same.

Minakshi Bajpai
January 2020 Edition
Minakshi Bajpai

Minakshi Bajpai

Sr. Product Manager

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Artificial Intelligence is everywhere starting from software development to project management. AI highly influences the 4 main phases of project management i.e, project initiation, project planning, controlling, and closure. Here are the ways through which AI has made an impact on project management:

  1. Notably Minimal Errors Every business needs quality and accurate projects. With AI, errors can be detected and fixed at any stage, thus lead to the reduction of errors in projects. This eventually have a positive impact on project quality and performance.
  2. Predictive Solutions AI based tools ensures the work planning is properly done that includes management of time, talent and priority of tasks. If a project does not stick to a deadline, it can lead to increased development costs and delayed delivery. With AI, decision making is easy. You can take needful action based on the information AI model gives you. AI also take care of simple tasks that includes notifying the project delay, costing, sending an email, etc. All these minor tasks can save time which can be utilized for the improvement of projects.
  3. Risk Prediction AI enabled project management system can identify the potential risks the project could have by using the real time project data which for sure is a valuable information for project managers. Many industries like healthcare, banking, counter-terrorism, and finance are already using AI tools for project managements that predict events before they happen. AI is here to stay and is the future technology that will help the project managers to understand future needs. It is advisable to be an early adopter of AI led project management and improve the success probability of your projects.
Paul Boudreau
January 2020 Edition
Paul Boudreau

Paul Boudreau

Professor, Project Manager and IT Consultant

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AI is going to disrupt project management, especially the project methodology. This includes the way the PMO manages a portfolio, the way a project manager executes a project and the way the project team interacts with the stakeholders. There are two main parts to this disruption. The first is vastly improved efficiency in the way that project management activities are performed. The second change is with the roles and responsibilities for the PMO and the project manager.

Perhaps you think that Airbnb simply improves the efficiency of finding a place to stay or that companies like Uber or Lyft improve the efficiency of transportation. I disagree. I think they disrupt those industries and AI will have the same impact on project management. The main impact is the importance of data and changing not only how we perceive data on projects but how we collect and store data in an easily accessible and structured format that AI tools can use.

Another change is how AI tools will become the 'always available, expert judgement tool and technique' for projects, thereby reducing the importance of project managers, especially ones who make intuitive decisions. As decision making shifts away from people and to machine learning models, project success rates will rise and be more consistently reliable. By disrupting our project processes, AI delivers much better results.

Stephanie Jaeger
January 2020 Edition
Stephanie Jaeger

Stephanie Jaeger

Principal Project Manager at Redtie Consultants (Strategy, Business & Project Management)

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AI is sometimes made to sound like this big monster that is coming. Yet we have all been using some elements of AI in our lives already. If you use an app or a search function in the internet you are using AI. In any project management software or scheduling software we have been using elements of AI already. I think we can only agree that these have made our lives easier! When is the last time you created a WBS with pencil and a ruler on paper? What about automated emails from updates in the PMIs? I strongly believe that AI is going to make several parts of project management much easier:

  • Communication – the written part of dissemination of information
  • Risk Management
  • Procurement
  • Resource Allocation across several projects
  • Scope Management
  • Cost Management

I am sure the list will continue. However AI is based on algorithms and I doubt that it will replace the human element of people management any time soon. We should embrace AI in project management as a tool that will free our time from paper work and leave us with more time to dedicate to the people element of project management