Automation: Doomsday or Shangri-La for Project Management?

Ramkumar is an experienced program manager with12+ years of success in leading all phases of diverse technology IT projects in retail, e-commerce, insurance and pharma market research industries.

Automation is a buzzword in the market today, and a lot is being discussed about its effects in various industries—especially in regards to labor. Automation has already staked its claim in manufacturing and industrial engineering, accelerating customer experiences profoundly. We have seen machines building machines, fully automated factories and autonomous cars. Amazon and Alibaba have robots to sort and carry items in their fulfillment centers, reducing the manual labor significantly.

Automation had also been (in some shape or form) in knowledge work industries (like rule-based systems), but more so in packets. The dawn of highly specialized algorithms or machines (hardware and software) can pretty much handle all routine activities—and can also predict events for course corrections in all sectors. Automation will have far-reaching implications and will disrupt almost every industry in the next decade, and has thus been discussed by the CEOs of top internet and technology companies.

How is automation going to affect project management—and, more importantly, project managers—in the short and long term as it evolves? Are we going to have digital (artificial intelligence) project managers steering projects based on metrics captured in the cloud? Will project management also evolve along with automation to create a utopia?

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