Project Management

Develop a Strategy for Automation

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

McKinsey recently conducted research which suggested that more than 30 percent of tasks performed today could potentially be automated. They suggested that represents 60 percent of today’s jobs. That’s not evolution; that’s not even transformation; that’s Armageddon. Now I grant you those are numbers designed to grab headlines and that there are a lot of barriers to that happening, but still, the stark fact is that many of today’s jobs are going to be automated in the next few years. From an organizational strategy perspective that represents a massive challenge, but also a massive opportunity.

The obvious conclusion people jump to when they hear these numbers is that ‘robots are going to take our jobs’ and of course there is some evidence that automation will result in fewer employment opportunities. Many manufacturing sectors have been using robots for decades and it has resulted in fewer people on the production line. But it’s also resulted in many more people being employed in technology-based skilled worker roles.

And of course, the design and production of robots, the development of control software, and the maintenance process has created an entire new industry in itself. There are also areas where robots are not trusted to perform tasks, or where humans provide an active oversight function. So we don’t need to be too worried that there are going to be no jobs in …

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