Project Management

Analyzing the Future: 3 Ways Data Science Will Change Project Management

PM Network, and Luke Desmond

The wave of big data and other data-science-related knowledge is turning into a flood. The economy is rapidly transforming into a knowledge-based one. In fact, the four largest companies based on market capitalization—Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon—are all data-driven organizations. How will this data science storm affect project, program and portfolio management? I believe there will be three main ways:


Within five years, almost all project management offices will seek to have a data science capability either permanently assigned to them or available when needed. However, the world already is facing a global shortage of data science professionals. Although many people have IT skills transferable to the data science world, very few have the five required data skill sets: business acumen and domain knowledge, computer programming, an understanding of statistics, the ability to build and maintain databases, and storytelling. This latter skill—the ability to convert the results of big data analysis into a message that stakeholders understand—is the largest gap. However, program and portfolio managers with a broad set of domain knowledge, business acumen and communication skills are ideally placed to step in and fill this gap.

On the flip side, automation, machine learning and data science will disrupt the role of project …

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