Project Management

AI and the Project Manager

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Categories: AI, Disruption, Technology


by Wanda L. Curlee, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, PMI-RMP

As artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) and other new diruptive technologies enter the business mainstream, how will this impact project management? And how will it affect your job?

In any business, understanding data is essential. However, there’s so much of it that no one human being can review it all and truly understand the trends and what’s relevant to the project at hand. That means those project managers who embrace these technologies will be lightyears ahead of their peers. And those who do not use these tools will struggle to be of value to the organization.

Back to School

First and foremost, you need to understand these emerging technologies and how they can help you lead and deliver a successful project.

While the project management profession is lagging behind in adopting AI, IoT and other vital technologies, there are myriad ways to increase your knowledge.

Take all the classes your organization offers and find out who knows or leads the areas you want to learn about. Come prepared with questions and suggestions on how AI and other technologies could help projects for the company. Why is this important?

  • You can start to assess how to integrate project management tools into the AI system(s).
  • You can determine what company data needs to be extracted and analyzed for projects.
  • And that leads to becoming more valuable to the company. 

Sell It Through

Even after you become an expert on technologies the company has to help further the success rate of projects, your work isn’t done. This is now your project to move forward. You’ll need to share your learnings and new ideas with trusted individuals because their feedback is essential. At the appropriate time, create an executive white paper and present it to your supervisor and a project management office lead or project portfolio office lead.

Remember, you’re looking for sponsors. If you’re not good at selling your ideas, get help. Ask other leads who don’t have a stake in what you want to sell to help you understand the hot buttons for the various ideas involved with your potential project. If those issues are covered, then your idea becomes easier to follow.

Whether or not your organization buys into your idea, you are now a valued asset. If the idea was rejected, make sure you receive feedback as to why and update your proposal. Then present it again.

Will AI replace you? No. It will be an adjunct. It will help you with decision-making and doing mundane things like chasing individuals to enter their time for the project, updating the schedule, suggesting the best what-if scenario or doing your first draft of a presentation, among other things.

How have you leveraged the benefits of AI?


Posted by Wanda Curlee on: December 21, 2020 11:06 AM | Permalink

Comments (14)

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Thanks for sharing

Jean-Claude - You are welcome

Excellent article, interesting challenge.

Oswaldo - Thank you

Thank you, interesting.

Mohammad - Thank you

Excellent article

QiAn - Thank you

Tools or Processes - Which Comes First?

This important question was “brought home” to me for the first time when I attended a one-day seminar in 2011 hosted by my PMI Chapter. It was entitled, "Tools or Processes - which comes first?" and facilitated by PMO Ottawa (a PMI, Program Management Office SIG/Community of Practice) in partnership with PMI OVOC.

Often I hear about, or witness, cutting-edge enterprise-wide IT systems (PMIS included) and tools being implemented in organizations BEFORE effective/efficient “grass-roots” project, program and/or portfolio management costing and analysis, financial & management accounting processes, policies and governance have been established.

In discussions with implementers of computerized systems and tools, the common refrain is that, “If you build it, they (sic) will come"—excerpted from the 1989 film, Field of Dreams.

The case for processes first, tools second

While a tool can embody good processes, one can argue that it is the behaviors and actions of individuals that make the real difference – regardless of the tool or tools they use. Such behaviors are a result of understanding how to perform certain activities; this cannot be taught by a tool.

AI and Iot have been the subject of discussions for almost 10 years now but the promise of their benefits has not been realized in many situations. The big question is how do you turn all of that data into KPI’s. Often engaging with a data scientist can provide you with new insights on the best use of the data presented to you. With new concepts like the Data Lake you need to understand the implications of Big Data. Once you start to combine Big Data with appropriate KPI’s you can measure things and once you can measure them you can improve them. That will add value to your organization and that is something you can communicate to management that they can use.

Hello Lawrence - Thanks for your comment. It will take hard work on IT's side and project managers. AI just like any other tool is not a silver bullet. It will not magically help us. We need to make ourselves smart, push to make sure that it meets our needs, and constantly tweak. We have to make ourselves knowledgeable.

Wanda, I could not agree more.

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