Project management and managing overall project portfolios within an organization is difficult at times with actual project success stories happening much less often than we would like to acknowledge. How do we get that higher after years of trying and still failing? What’s going to change. Better processes? We’ve tried that. Better PM tools? There are literally hundreds out there – I haven’t heard anyone claim that the one they are using is perfect and I’ve reviewed and discussed many. The perfect PPM tool that combines managing projects along with managing the entire project portfolio within an organization in one tool is probably the way to go. However, changes are probably going to have to happen in order to get us to that near perfect tool that will do the job while keeping organizations focused on prioritizing and selecting the projects that align the best with the company’s overall goals and mission.
Consider – artificial intelligence. It is developing and evolving fast and I believe it will be a huge factor in successfully managing projects in the close future… actually by 2025. How? Let’s consider a few areas it could be very useful… and please share your thoughts at the end…
One of the hardest things to do on a project is to get estimating right. From the original sales process through building the project schedule to estimating and creating change orders, project managers, tech leads and the entire project team, in general, are estimating work and task timelines and costs. Getting those estimates as close to right as possible is critical to several things: customer satisfaction, profitability, meeting deadlines, and coming in on budget with a successful project. Using AI and a well-built database of knowledge and results from other projects, the process of estimating could become as much as 90% or more AI-driven. No two projects are created equal, but many tasks in certain genres, industries and organizations are fairly similar and repeatable so close to real time estimates could be accessed and analyzed and team reviewed as they go into change orders and other processes… making them as close to accurate as possible.
Right now the technology exists and has been implemented for AI to listen in on 911 dispatch calls and recognize signs of cardiac arrest in potential call in victims. Amazing, yes, and if it can do that for saving lives, then it can be trained to listen in on project status calls and detect confident and concerned tones in both the customer team and the project delivery team. It can also catch key phrases and updates and even revise status reports with current progress and auto-distribute to attendees, stakeholders and senior management. Likely even before the attendees reach their desks post-meeting. Following a quick review by the project manager to ensure accuracy, everyone can rest assured that the entire project team will be on the same page post meeting and through out the engagement. As we all know this is a critical component to project success. It can also be used in the same vein for team meetings to funnel information and the latest and greatest status updates as the project manager and team prep for weekly status calls and meetings with the full team and customer.
AI will be able to listen to calls and pull out discussion points that have to do with work that is out of scope. It may – at first – require key words to be spoken by participants, but it should be able to eventually create change orders on the fly – almost in real time – to set the tone for a scope discussion and then restructure the project schedule accordingly depending on approval or rejection. Having the ability for AI to automatically create suggested draft change orders for the project manager and team to review and modify before presenting to the project client could take two weeks or more lag time out of the drafting, review and approval process and keep costs down and profitability higher as a result. Learning over time would only serve to tighten that estimate.
Anything we can have AI track on the project likely ensures more accuracy, more potential for help with solutions as the AI learns the issue tracking and reporting processes as well as understanding the goals and mission of the project, the milestones, and the technology in use. Think about it, the possibilities are endless. Would all of this change project management as we know it? Definitely. Would project managers become expendable? I don’t think so and I certainly hope not. It will be a scary “Rollerball” type society if we allow too much AI takeover.
Just as with issue tracking, AI will eventually be invaluable for identifying, tracking, assessing and managing the whole risk process throughout the project. AI learns and grows and as it takes in more data on one project and all projects in a company’s PPM tool and the data and history the AI could develop and retain data/knowledge all projects that will become invaluable to a company’s ongoing project successes. Solid risk assessment and management is severely lacking on most projects and in most organizations – especially with cybersecurity being the growing concern it has become. That will become a thing of the past.
Summary/call for input
Project managers and teams – how do you feel about this list? Are we there with AI this year, next year – in 2025? What would you remove or add to this list? Am I over or underestimating the eventual significance of artificial intelligence on our projects? I think we have to be careful in rolling it out – just like self-driving cars – but it is here to stay and will be extremely helpful in our project teams realizing successful project rollouts going forward. Please share your thoughts and discuss.
Brad Egeland has been named the “#1 Provider of Project Management Content in the World” with over 7,000 published articles, ebooks, white papers and videos. Brad is married, a father of 11, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad’s site at www.bradegeland.com.