The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) is real. And it’s only going to intensify. By 2024, global invest- ment in emerging AI technologies is projected to reach US$3 trillion—up from US$126 billion in 2015, according to a 2016 Transparency Market Research report. As AI ascends, it has the power to fundamentally transform project management deci- sion making.
The information-gathering capabilities of AI could help reduce
human error and biases when it comes to creating budgets, predicting cost overruns and developing schedules. For example, a subset of
AI called machine learning—using algorithms to predict outcomes—
could analyze massive amounts of historical data from past projects to
identify and assess thousands of schedule possibilities and help project
managers select the best option.
“AI is not going to replace project managers. But it is definitely going
to be a key tool in the project manager’s toolbox to improve delivery
practices,” says Saravanan Mugund, associate director of Emerging Business Accelerator automation venture, Cognizant Technology Solutions
Pvt. Ltd., Chennai, India.
AI-assisted tools could mean that project monitoring and schedule
changes require less time and fewer resources. These efficiencies will allow
project managers to focus on areas where AI falls short, such as people
skills and team building. The tools could also help project leaders devote
more time to ensuring that projects remain in tune with the business case
and aligned with organizational goals, says Boris Petukhov, senior project
manager, Argo Computing Services Pty. Ltd., Melbourne, Australia.
“AI is going to enable and elevate project managers to do high-value
functions,” he says.
AI’s potential applications in the realm of project management are
broad. But its data assimilation and analysis capabilities initially will be
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BY S. A. SWANSON