Buzz around the machine learning and artificial intelligence is everywhere and project management is not excluded from it. Does this mean the project managers will be replaced by AI systems? My strong belief is that AI will not be able to mimic the cognitive and reasoning ability of humans. Project management is being flexible, compromising, negotiating, communication, motivating teams and conflict resolution. AI is certainly not capable all of doing all of these.
Which being said I don’t deny the possibilities of various applications of AI in project management. Way forward is AI being a virtual assistance to project managers, helping with day to day operational and administration activities. Eventually AI systems will develop the capability understand the data and highlight/recommend/suggest project managers.
Here is my visualization of AI applications and progression of AI in project management.
AI systems will evolve over the time, improving the capabilities.
Primitive Project assistance:
Premature AI systems in project management will be focused on how the project managers interact with the project management tools, automating repetitive tasks and providing tools/widgets to visualize metrics.
Below the list of activities (not an extensive list, there could many other similar activities), project manager can expect from early AI systems for project management:
- Automation of small/repetitive tasks
- Real time project status
- Team member able to update the status of task by to talking AI system (NLP, chat bot..)
- Smart reporting
- Visualization tool through which project manager can create dashboards of various project metrics, map correlation between metrics
- Automated follow-up
- Most of the time Project manager spends time in follow ups. Mundane task like reminders, notifications, etc can be handled by project management tools.
Few phrases a project manager can use to get the desired data from primitive AI systems:
“How many project team members on leave today?”
“How much is the deviation of project actual cost compared with planned actual cost today?”
“Add new task with description Review latest SW baseline and assign it to Mohan”
Advance Project assistance:
Advance AI systems will be further intelligent than primitive. This kind of systems will comprehend the current data (metrics, status, etc..), and suggests project manager with more useful insights. Historical data becomes very critical, for the efficiency of these systems.
Partial list of activities, advance AI systems can perform during project management
- System alerting project manager about the key issues/lesson learnt to be considered while initiating the new project
- AI systems suggesting likely efforts for a particular kind of tasks/activity – analyzing the tasks by description
- AI systems recommending best team member for a task/activity accounting the skills & complexity – Resource suggestions
- Suggestive course correction in project schedule based on project progress
- Automated task workflow – based on pre-defined configuration
- Projection of cost and schedule, considering the project progress
- Automated bug reporting – AI systems interfaces to ALM tool picks up the defect, and assign to respective developer. AI systems will also provide list of solutions to similar issues, for developer to refer. And for project manager, AI system will provide the insights like criticality of bug, effort required for resolve the bug by referring to historical data
For the systems to have better understanding and suggesting to be more appropriate and accurate large number of data points are required. So the onus of getting more usable data points belong to everyone in the organization. And these kind of AI systems will only get better over the time.
Knowledgeable Project assistance:
Matured AI systems in project management will be able to convey the significant insights and prediction to project managers. Technology evolution in AI will cover much wider functionality/project management areas. These AI systems will help Project manager make smarter and faster decision.
Some of the application matured AI systems will aid project manager in:
- Feeding in the project details and getting feedback from AI systems on project classification, possible life cycle to be adapted, and more
- AI system creating a high level WBS structure by looking at system design
- Automated critical path identification looking at the WBS
- Highlighting risk looking at the project progress
- Predicting realistic timeline and cost for a project
- Accurate resource competency predication and gap analysis from current resource pool for a project
There are no limitations to possible applications of AI in project management.
In future projects will be managed with the help AI systems, where the project managers are well equipped to manage the projects efficiently. Project managers and AI systems will co exits sharing the responsibilities. Share your views/ideas below on how the AI systems will help Project managers.