Project Management

Three Reasons Why AI Won’t Replace Project Managers

From the AI IQ Blog
Technology offers an incredible opportunity to improve project performance. This blog shares the latest research and how organizations are implementing AI into their project methodology. Come with an open mind, increase your knowledge, share your concerns, and become a project manager with new skills to offer an organization.

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Fear of new technology is often based on the belief that it results in a loss of jobs. As technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more prevalent in updating project methodologies, project managers ask the same question. Will we still need project managers?  Using AI in projects is growing because it improves project performance and increases project success rates. Below is my opinion on why AI will not be able to replace the project manager role.     

  1. Managing data.  AI, especially machine learning algorithms, requires structured and relevant data.  From my experience working with organizations, they have a lot of project data, but it is unstructured, not easily accessible, and often misses important data points.  Project managers need to define a project data strategy, provide constant updates for data used as input to AI tools, and ensure the data being collected is the most relevant to the project type or organization. This is not a function that an IT person or a business specialist can provide. A project manager knows project management language and concepts such as the critical path and earned value.
  2. Interpreting results and taking appropriate action.  AI is based on math, not myth. Project managers need to interpret machine learning output and determine what actions are required.  AI algorithms produce a prediction or perform classification.  Prediction is unlikely to be a 100% probability, and a classification result may include pointless outliers. A project manager with knowledge of statistics can determine the proper evaluation and next steps toward a decision.
  3. Collaborating.  Studies show that when people collaborate with AI tools, the results are better than either could achieve on their own.  As shown in reasons 1 and 2 above, project managers have a critical role in optimizing this technology's effectiveness.

The knowledge required to be a great project manager will change, and the role will be slightly different.  As mundane tasks, such as creating a project status report and organizing a team meeting, are automated, there will be other more interesting and challenging tasks for project managers to perform that will improve project performance.

My next blog outlines the areas where AI-based tools will replace project managers.

Posted on: November 19, 2023 12:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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I recently read an article about the "Seven professions that will emerge with artificial intelligence"
For some of them, (if they are credible predictions) Project Managers will certainly be able to transition.

Here are 3 of the 7 of these professions:

1. Prompt Creator
“Prompts” are the requests made to the robot, that is, the way you communicate with it. Then, the prompt designer profession will emerge, a person who knows the way each specific AI works so well that they will know exactly how to make the most of them.

This profession will need people with great knowledge in programming, but also in communication. Thus, people with degrees in Humanities, Journalism, Literature and Advertising will be able to do well in this job.

2. Robot manager
This is the position that will replace the current project manager in practically all areas. Much of the work done in large companies could be replaced by robots, especially in more entry-level positions

3. AI Analyst
The AI ​​analyst will analyze the results brought by the machines and evaluate whether they were useful or not. They will also be able to classify the type of response generated. This data will make artificial intelligence better. Anyone trained for this service can work in the role.

Dear Paul,

Your perspective on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in project management and its impact on the profession is both insightful and forward-looking. You've highlighted key areas where AI can augment project management but not replace the essential human elements that a project manager brings to the table.

Managing Data: You rightly point out that AI, particularly machine learning algorithms, necessitates structured and relevant data. The role of the project manager in defining a project data strategy, ensuring the data's relevance and quality, and providing constant updates is crucial. This task requires not just technical expertise but also a deep understanding of project management principles and practices, something that AI on its own cannot replicate.

Interpreting Results and Taking Action: AI's output, be it predictions or classifications, requires a nuanced interpretation that goes beyond mere statistical analysis. A project manager, equipped with knowledge of both statistics and project dynamics, is better positioned to make informed decisions based on AI-generated insights. This human element in evaluating the results and understanding the context within which these results are generated is essential.

Collaboration: Your point about the synergistic collaboration between humans and AI tools is particularly important. Studies do suggest that the combination of human intelligence and artificial intelligence often yields better results than either alone. This collaboration underscores the continued relevance of project managers who can effectively integrate AI tools into their workflow, optimizing the technology's effectiveness.

Your conclusion that the role of project managers will evolve, rather than become obsolete, in the age of AI is a key takeaway. As AI automates more routine tasks, project managers can focus on more complex and strategic aspects of project management. This shift will likely require project managers to adapt and acquire new skills, particularly in understanding and leveraging AI in their projects.

The evolution of the project manager's role in the AI era opens up a broader question: How should project managers prepare for and adapt to these changes? What specific skills and knowledge will be most valuable for project managers in an increasingly AI-driven project environment? This reflection is essential for professionals in the field to remain relevant and effective in their roles as technology continues to advance.



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