Artificial Intelligence in Project Management - The Machines Are NOT Taking Over...

Artificial Intelligence in Project Management - The Machines Are NOT Taking Over...

As fun as it might be to have Elon Musk come and help you manage your project, we won’t be having that happen anytime soon. Plus, he’s too busy with space travel now. But Artificial Intelligence has been making an impact in project management enabling Managers to focus on the more critical parts of their jobs and letting AI do some of the more mundane tasks. How is that happening? Let’s take a look.

First of all, what exactly is Artificial Intelligence? Well, sad to say it’s not what you see in the movies. AI is a term used for any and all complex calculations and analysis previously only done by humans. What it isn’t is HAL from A Space Odyssey or Ava from Ex Machina who become smarter than the humans and take over the world. Not to worry.

AI is already in used in everyday services we can’t imagine doing without like:

  • Credit card fraud detection
  • Spotify and Netflix entertainment recommendations
  • UberEats and Grubhub estimated meal delivery times
  • Spam Filter
  • Voice-to-text and Virtual Assistants like Siri and Cortana

Much of project management involves scheduling, reminders and follow-ups. This is one place where AI systems can be of real benefit. It can save a tremendous amount of human hours. AI systems integrate with popular communication tools and are great at making sure items. on to-do lists and calendars are not overlooked. Studies show that more than half of a project manager’s time is spent on administrative tasks such as dealing with check-ins and updates. AI tools can make an excellent right-hand assistant to project managers.

One of the things that Artificial Intelligence also does is facilitate complex analysis. This allows for an AI tool to use the data it collects about the way a project is progressing and make predictions about its future. It is easy for humans to get tunnel vision about their particular role in a project. AI tools can get a big picture perspective through data analysis. They can see where all the pieces of the puzzle are moving at once. It enables an AI tool to make assessments about impacts on budgets and schedules.

In addition to making predictions on aspects of the project, AI tools can use data to make assessments on human behavior patterns as well. These systems have the ability to use the information collected to observe habits of team members to find possible areas that could cause scheduling or operational conflicts. They can also go so far as to find someone who is doing something out of compliance uncovering potential instances of fraud or other issues that might arise. In today’s business climate, with so many teams working remotely and even globally, AI systems make it so much easier for project managers to determine actions and needs. A project manager would have a hard time being as thorough as an AI tool would be in understanding the nuances of an individual team member’s patterns.

One of the biggest benefits of using AI technology is reducing risks. No project manager wants their project to be over budget or not on schedule. AI tools allow for assessment of these potential risks far enough in advance to make course corrections and mitigate the negative effects.

Is there something AI cannot do? Well yes. Luckily for all you project managers out there AI cannot replace everything. The biggest area is people management. Emotional intelligence cannot be boiled down to 1s and 0’ and will never be able to be measured by an AI system. Human resource functions will always need a human touch and so there are many aspects of team management that AI can't replace.

So, rest assured that while artificial intelligence can help project managers make life much easier, it is not going to completely replace you anytime soon. More and more new products and applications are getting developed all the time to increase efficiency and this is just another in the arsenal. It will help with some of the day-to-day tasks that are the biggest time drains and assist with predicting the places where projects can get off track. AI systems can be a great value add to a project manager’s toolkit.