The AI Revolution of Project Management

Depending on your perspective, our current age is either experiencing a technological renaissance or a chaotic wild, wild west. Maybe a little of both! While it has been around in many forms for a long time, the introduction of ChatGPT launched Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the collective consciousness and is causing laborers and companies in every part of the workforce to evaluate their relationship with this revolutionary technology. Having just finished the PMI Mile Hi Symposium and moderating a panel on AI in Project Management, as well as recently completing three certifications, AI has been on my mind a bit lately and is something I think every Project Manager should take time to learn about.

Courses I completed and would recommend: 

How will AI change Project Management?

Almost every company has had to address AI in some way. Some are proactively implementing AI guidelines and restrictions for team members to abide by. This is a smart move as we all figure out how this will affect our lives moving forward, but it needs to be revisited frequently as things constantly evolve. Companies are generally slow in adapting and using AI because they have to define what AI is to them and put policies in place as they make that determination.

There are some exciting predictions about AI as it begins to impact the PMO landscape. Some organizations predict that by 2030, up to 80% of Project Management tasks will be eliminated by AI. This statistic can look scary, but I don’t think it should be. While AI can take away a lot of busy work, it will never replace the human factor. For PMOs that embrace the technology, it will mold a corporate structure that relies even more heavily on the data that PMOs provide because they will be able to offer it at a pace that keeps organizations competitive.

AI can also bring a higher percentage of successful projects to completion. I remember the Standish Group reported a few years back that only a little over a quarter of all projects are considered successful, mainly due to a lack of resources. Humans applying Project Management philosophies with the assistance of AI-powered technologies could make a giant leap forward in the number of projects we can accomplish. The Project Manager of the future will need to develop soft skills like communication even further to make this AI future successful. After all, AI can’t change, implement, and train on company new processes – humans will.

When leading the AI panel discussion, which had some great insights, I asked my friend Lee Lambert (founder of the PMP), when the shiny new object of AI hits us and moves on, what will it leave behind? Lee and I have seen many technologies come and go. Lee mentioned that more efficient use of data will be here to stay, and he mentioned all the good things PMI is doing to embrace AI. It reminded me of when Agile was new on the Project Management scene. I said then that agile was a fad and would quickly go away. Boy, did I get that wrong. AI is here. It’s only going to blindside folks that ignore it.

PMI is at the forefront of AI technology

PMI Global has certainly embraced AI. So far, they provide two certifications: the two I mentioned earlier that I received, both of which are free for PMI members. PMI has also launched PMI Infinity, an AI assistant for PM professionals fed with data vetted by PM professionals. It also includes a PMP exam simulator that provides test questions and in-depth explanations behind the answers. Basically, if you want to stay at the forefront of what AI technology can do, PMI Global can provide you with a wealth of knowledge.

Whoa Nelly – There are precautions to take when adopting AI in Project Management

Like any technology, we can’t look at it through rose-colored glasses. Implementing AI technology involves some real and consequential risks. 

Garbage in/Garbage out. The results of Generative AI are only as good as the information it is fed. Artificial Intelligence is entirely dependent on the data it is given. As an experiment, I asked ChatGPT to give me its opinion. It responded, “As an AI, I don’t have personal opinions, but I can provide insights based on information available up to my last training data.” It is just for this reason that PMI Infinity is only trained on data that Project Management professionals have approved. 

Besides the quality of data, the security of data is also a concern when it comes to working with AI technologies. Companies that work with sensitive customer information need extensive security measures in place. Things like robust data encryption, access controls, and regular security audits to protect sensitive project data from unauthorized access or breaches will be even more crucial moving forward.

Human oversight and intervention will be a must with AI-powered technologies. Ironically, this human oversight is needed because AI is trained and fed data created by humans with human imperfections. This leads to interesting problems in AI technology like biases and “hallucinations” where AI provides incorrect information due to errors in data training or programming. This can be addressed with continual auditing of information and data by humans, as well as developing ethical guidelines and governance policies that outline acceptable use cases for AI in project management and establishing protocols for addressing ethical concerns. I mean the bad guys are going to find a way to exploit biases and hallucinations. So having processes (and people) in place to enforce, monitor, and take action with the data will be necessary.

However, despite the limitations and challenges, Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, so the best way for Project Managers to stay on top of complications from AI is to embrace the opportunities. Take certification courses, read the abundant articles written about its use in PMO, attend seminars, and if you have questions or concerns, reach out to colleagues and leaders who have experience in this area. One thing is for sure; It’s an exciting time for Project Management, so embrace the future!  

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