artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence: Doomsday or Blessing

The real risk with AI isn’t malice but competence. – Stephen Hawking

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Artificial Intelligence has become the talking point for businesses in the fast few years because of its applications that range from automation, making predictions, deriving insights from a massive amount of data, and most importantly its ability to adapt and learn with time. In the (not so distant) future, AI is expected to become dominant in all industries and in all the corners of the globe. A report from McKinsey has predicted that over 500 million workers will be replaced by automation in 2030. So, now the question is, “Is AI a real threat or a blessing in disguise through which the leaders can embark on a transformational journey for the greater good?”

The need for Artificial Intelligence

“Everything that we have electrified, we are now going to cognify. And I would suggest that the formula for the next 10,000 startups be very very simple: take X – and add AI” – Kevin Kelly.

AI is one of the key drivers of this digital transformation strategy for organizations order to keep pace with the changing landscape, innovation, and evolving business practices. Artificial intelligence is a much broader term which embraces automation (rule, intelligent), predictive analytics, sophisticated algorithms with heuristics, deep learning capabilities, and others. With a limited set of tools, it was virtually impossible for the project managers to derive insights from the massive amount of data.

Role of AI in the Project Management

AI has a wide range of benefits across all sectors. There is no doubt that the technology behind AI will overtake us in the coming time, and the fear of losing the battle is terrifying humans.

Here’s how AI will play an important role in project management in the coming time:

  • Estimating, Planning and scheduling for projects based on past data from similar projects.
  • Digital assistant for project managers that can compile reports from systems
  • Provide insights from project data for actionable items
  • Predict delays and defects early in the schedule for corrective actions.
  • Aid in personalization communications to all stakeholders
  • AI can help in analyzing feeds from social media and provide feedback about the product from mass markets
  • AI can help identify right suppliers through risk analysis and credit ratings to the project manager for procurement activities.

PMI’s Talent Triangle

Technical Project Management, Strategic & Business Management, and Leadership skills are three sides of the talent triangle defined by PMI ®. Artificial Intelligent can aid project managers in all these sides for better efficiencies.

Technical

Artificial intelligent with digital management assistants like bots and algorithms can provide project or program level insights and recommendation to manage various activities. Project manager’s effort towards operational activities would be significantly reduced with this.

Business and Strategic

Project Managers need to be visionaries and think strategically since the industry is changing rapidly based on customer needs. AI can help the project managers in selecting appropriate projects through project selection methods and the rapid analysis of various parameters, potentially saving a lot of time.

Leadership

Leadership skills are critical to project managers when managing stakeholders in the project and while motivating the team members. These skills have profound influence and impact on the project outcomes and can be supplemented with AI tools for maximizing benefits.

Managing Risks

Managing a project takes more than just making an astounding plan in advance and running through to it. Interdependencies within the project and external changes could make outcomes erratic. Estimates and forecasts are at best perception; at worst, guestimates. Modern management techniques such as agile target to reduce unlikelihood by working incrementally, but that still doesn’t promise final delivery. AI can help the project managers in the critical path/chain method by estimating the time required to complete the tasks based on past project data thereby reducing the uncertainties.

Symbiotic Relationship

Artificial intelligence can help project managers to maximize the value to the clients by optimizing the efforts. With the help of AI tools project managers would be able to work towards accomplishing project goals, improve quality, optimize cost, align seamlessly with multiple stakeholders and their expectations. As Elon Musk rightly said, “Humans must merge with machines or become irrelevant in the AI Age”.

Youtube Video Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VZISQSdYTc

Conclusion

It took more than sixty years for artificial intelligence to gain popularity and make itself omnipresent, but now that it’s here, it’s here to stay. Gartner predicts that by 2020, artificial intelligence will actually create more jobs than it eliminates. “Cognification” will lead to a change in job roles, rather than their eradication. Project management is one profession that has dramatically improvised over years. It’s high time that project managers replace their day to day manual project management tactics and techniques with smarter ones driven by technology and intelligence.

Ramkumar Armugam

Ramkumar is an experienced Program Manager with 14 years of success in leading all phases of diverse technology IT Projects in retail, e-commerce, insurance and pharma market research industries. He has more than 7+ years of experience in leading and executing projects and programs using agile and lean methodologies. He is currently working as Senior Manager in Cognizant and holds multiple certifications including PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, CSPO, CSP and ICP-ACC. He has a zeal for project and program management and his current endeavor includes leading a large scale distributed product development team in delivering a world class product features in the area of Finance and HR domains for a large US retailer.

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