I recently completed an online training course offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The topic was an overview of how generative AI can support project management delivery. It was one of the few times when I have been a little skeptical about the content at the lead into the course, but then within minutes won over.
Before I go into the main purpose of this post, lets consider some of the responsibilities and time challenges that project managers have to routinely deliver on:
- Meeting administration and follow ups – If you are a project manager you will have to facilitate a fair amount of meetings. Your role will often be facilitator and notetaker etc either role can suffer if on a call you have to focus on the other part to progress that meeting. After which, you need time to consolidate those notes, summarise the main points, document the decisions, log the risks and assign actions, all of which takes time.
- Conflicting meeting/Endless back to back meetings – The sheer volume of meetings, whether they conflict with each other or follow in a mass of back to back events, can impact how/when or even if you can send out the meeting output.
- Weekly Project status reporting – A busy project manager will often need to lock themselves away on a Friday to create the weekly reporting needs, when instead they could be improving stakeholders relationships.
- Ad hoc follow ups/questions – A busy project manager having to drop everything due to an ‘urgent’ request for information or an update on a particular topic.
Basically, there is a lot of data handling, content creation and more importantly large amounts of time needing to be spent on them. Time spent on those points is really time away from building better relationships with stakeholders, maintaining a strong and productive project team and ultimately you leading the project. That is where Generative AI can provide massive support to a project Manager.
Generative AI refers to the use of artificial intelligence techniques to generate new content, ideas, or solutions. In the context of project management, generative AI can support various aspects of project planning, execution, and monitoring. It can automate repetitive tasks, provide insights, optimise resource allocation, and enhance decision-making processes. But the important point is that it does not replace the human, they are still the decision makers and an important part of the required ‘human-in-the-loop’ approach that is required.
Here is a summary of how generative AI can support project management, along with a table listing AI applications and the project management areas they support:
- Automation: Generative AI can automate repetitive tasks such as data entry, report generation, and scheduling, freeing up project managers’ time for more strategic activities.
- Data analysis: AI algorithms can analyse large volumes of project data, identify patterns, and provide insights to improve decision-making and project performance.
- Risk management: Generative AI can help identify potential risks by analysing historical project data and predicting future risks. It can also suggest mitigation strategies based on past experiences.
- Resource optimisation: AI algorithms can optimise resource allocation by analysing project requirements, team skills, and availability, ensuring efficient utilisation of resources.
- Schedule optimisation: Generative AI can analyse project schedules, dependencies, and constraints to optimise project timelines, considering factors like resource availability and task dependencies.
- Communication and collaboration: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can facilitate communication and collaboration among project team members, providing real-time updates and answering queries.
- Quality control: AI algorithms can analyse project deliverables and compare them against predefined quality standards, identifying potential issues or deviations.
- Increased business acumen: AI can also provide crucial input/context for a project manager in scenarios where they are assigned to a project in an industry/sector that they have little or no experience off. Or even at short notice taking over a project that is well underway and they need to get up to speed with the history, market trends that touch on the project.
In conclusion, adopting generative AI in project delivery is not only a big change but also a big step forward. It offers the opportunity for the project manager to focus on increasing their quality of delivery and a more targeted approach on the effective management of relationships (something that AI can’t do). This ultimately increases the likelihood of the project meeting its scope, cost and resourcing needs and ultimately delivering on the ROI that the project sponsor is expecting.
But you really need to get you hands dirty and try the many different tools out there. Some suggested free starting points.