Is Project Management Ready for AI Revolution?
A new big trend – artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging in an ever-competing market as a new driving force of digital transformation. Some see it as the promise of the future, while others are skeptical of its impact. But when we look at the numbers, the image is no longer fuzzy. In (PwC, 2019) ‘22nd Annual Global CEO Survey’, 85% of CEOs agreed that AI would significantly change the way they do business in the next five years. Some years earlier, (PwC, 2017) estimated that the AI market will increase global GDP by 14% by 2030 (adding US$15.7 trillion to the market). Today, we are at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution! (Schulze, 2019) points out technologies that leverage big data: artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). They bring the physical and digital spheres together and are now propelling this new Revolution.
Wait… but what is AI? Artificial intelligence is the designing and building of intelligent agents that receive percepts from the environment and takes actions that affect that environment – as defined by (Russell & Norvig, 2013). How did we come to think about AI? AI is one of the newest fields in science and engineering. Work started in earnest soon after World War II, and the name itself was coined in 1956. along with molecular biology. AI is regularly cited as the “field I would most like to be in” by scientists in other disciplines. A student in physics might reasonably feel that all the good ideas have already been taken by Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and the rest. AI, on the other hand, still has openings for several full-time Einsteins and Edisons. It currently encompasses a huge variety of subfields, ranging from the general (learning and perception) to the specific, such as playing chess, proving mathematical theorems, writing poetry, driving a car on a crowded street, and diagnosing diseases. AI is relevant to any intellectual task; it is truly a universal field. (Russell & Norvig, 2013)
And what about Project Management? (PMI, 2018) in it’s ‘Pulse of the Profession’ identifies AI as one of the major breakthroughs that will affect the discipline of project management. They rank it as the third top disruptor in the profession based on total impact, closely behind Cloud Computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). (Middleton, 2017) explains that project management AI is a system that can perform the day-to-day management and administration of projects without requiring human input. It will not only automate simple tasks but will also develop an understanding of key project performance. Ultimately, an AI system will save you time while improving outcomes for your projects and team. For example, a Slack bot that lets you check on the status of a Jira task quickly, while useful, is not considered project management AI. Similarly, an algorithm that applies machine learning to predict estimates for tasks, while interesting, isn’t AI either. It’s only when you start bringing bots and algorithms together that you start to realize the potential of project management AI. stratejos, for example, has started out by focusing on assisting with estimates, budget, and sprint management. Early project management AI tools are giving us a glimpse of the future where AI automates tasks, provides insights, and even, communicates with the team.
Truly, exciting times are ahead of us and don’t get me wrong, this is not going in the direction of singularity, just the opposite! Human input and soft skills will be more valued while most of our current work will be compensated by AI. This is going to have a huge impact on the time and performance of teams. We are talking about AI-powered teams moving at light speed swooping the competition far behind. There will be only one – adapt or die! When? Who knows, but all the indications are pointing towards a time period of one decade, which, realistically, is close! Let the games begin, future, we welcome you!
- Middleton, S. (2017, April 7). 3 ways AI will change project management for the better. Retrieved from Atlassian.com: https://www.atlassian.com/blog/software-teams/3-ways-ai-will-change-project-management-better
- PMI. (2018). Pulse of the Profession. Next Practices, Maximizing the benefits of disruptive technologies on projects. PMI.
- PwC. (2017). Sizing the prize: What’s the real value of AI for your business and how can you capitalize? PwC.
- PwC. (2019). 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey. PwC.
- Russell, S. J., & Norvig, P. (2013). Artificial Intelligence – A Modern Approach. Prentice Hall: Pearson.
- Schulze, E. (2019). Everything you need to know about the Fourth Industrial Revolution.