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By Peter Tarhanidis, PhD
Technology has demonstrated tremendous benefits and efficiencies (many of them unstated) over time. The technology lifecyle enhancements that started with our initial computers, software programs and the internet of the past have given way to the modern-day cloud, Big Data and artificial intelligence.
Throughout this maturing landscape, technology has affected all industries—especially how we collaborate. According to Peng (2021), here are some key impacts to consider:
- Digital transformations spending will exceed an estimated $2.39 trillion by 2024.
- Collaborative tools and technologies increased operational efficiency by 131%.
- Technology will displace an estimated 85 million jobs globally by 2025.
- AI augmentation will increase global worker productivity hours to an estimated 6.2 billion hours.
Project management has benefitted from the overall technology lifecycle, either by implementing aspects of it or by being a user of its collaboration outputs. Yet project managers are at the doorstep of being part of the next wave of AI disruption.
What a PM organization must consider is the methods and concepts used in managing past programs and become proactive in shifting to an AI-enabled PM organization. There is no doubt that the role of PMs and our methodology will be augmented with AI-enabled assistance.
PwC identified five areas of AI disruption and decision making in project management:
- Business insights: Filter data to gain actionable perceptions
- Risk management: Develop the ability to run multiple risk scenarios and outcomes
- Human capital: Optimize teams and leverage staff skills or new areas of training
- Action-taker: Provide analysis and optimization of schedules and staffing needs
- Active assistant: Augment the collection process of information to generate progress reports
To prepare for these changes, project managers should:
- Invest in data sciences and digital skill sets
- Create a culture that adopts digital disruption
- Enable the use of digital tools and approaches to limit manual efforts and drive value-added work.
In order for these changes to emerge, there are a few considerations that may hold one back from the changes—such as organizational readiness, employee skills assessments, and the state of technical tools.
PwC outlines a change approach to assist in the transition that relies on updating project management strategy, leveraging technology investments, integrating digital and AI, and a comprehensive communication plan to generate awareness through adoption by the future project management workforce.
What other approaches have you used—or should be considered—to manage AI disruption in project management?