Change Management - Artificial Intelligence vs The Project Manager

When it comes to new technologies change management can often be a slippery slope. Dealing with the impact of AI will be a similar scenario. How do Project Managers need to evolve to adapt to this changing landscape?

Dealing with change

Despite our role as the leaders or deliverers of change, project managers, like everyone else we often struggle to deal with change and one thing is for sure, the change that AI is going to deliver to the world of project management is going to be significant.

There are two keys to being able to cope with, and then take advantage of change and they are a) be open to learning more of what is the art of the possible and b) being open to accept that they may well have to change themselves.

Right now, there are very diverse and conflicting thoughts of the value and impact of artificial intelligence on project management.

As detailed in ‘AI and the Project Manager’ I asked many project management professionals around the world how they felt about AI and these are just a few of the responses: 

AI will only add to laziness, clumsiness, and poor project performance. The difference between good and bad project managers is the ability to identify and seize opportunity.

AI will make some things easy and will automate routine tasks – but it will not solve dilemmas and it will not replace a human any time soon.

Like any improvement there will be twists and turns before it is seen as useful, usual, and then we will wonder how we ever managed without it.

Project Management is all about leading people towards pre-defined goals. AI will not be capable of leading people in any foreseeable future.

I am intrigued at the potential of AI in project management but welcome any automated process that will help reduce the manual legwork of project personnel to manage, control, monitor, evaluate, and report on portfolio, programme, and project progression.

And I particularly enjoyed one dark comment:

Project Management definitely needs Intelligence. Be it Natural or Artificial.

I believe that these are all fair thoughts and comments bearing in mind the current awareness and understanding of what AI is (in project management) and what it can do now and might well do in the near future.

In many ways AI is like any other ‘tech tool’, it can aid good project managers to be even better, for the less than ‘good’ it will make little difference to their capability but it will identify to the business bad behaviour and increased project risk, so the low performers in this area will have nowhere to hide.

Conduct an impact analysis  

If you have any doubts about whether you should apply your mind and your time to this topic then I would suggest that you consider three truths:

  • AI is here, and more is coming.
  • AI will deliver a seismic impact over the next few years.
  • We will all be affected in some way(s).

What will AI offer? Well firstly it will have a tireless and error free focus on end-to-end efficiency, from the start of the project to the very last task. With a focus on analytics and resource utilisation across your project resources, along with a capability to automate complex processes, together with a predictive capability, at the very least AI will become your ‘super’ project assistant.

AI augments human intelligence with a depth of analytics and advanced pattern prediction capabilities all of which will improve decision making; both the speed of such conclusions and the depth of data used to advice on reaching a conclusion.

As you do on your own projects, why not consider an ‘impact analysis’ assessment for your organisation?

Such an exercise would need to consider what is in the market today, what is progressing towards the market, what the current state of the internal project systems and process is, and then map out the overlay, impact, outcomes, and benefits.

For AI there is also a legal and ethical point of view to be considered.

If you want to explore this further, then:

  • Do some simple research on what AI can do right now (and perhaps what interaction you already have with it in some way - Amazon Chatbot for example).
  • Read up on what is predicted for AI (and in particular for project management) – all of the major project communities are now getting this topic on the agenda of webinars, blog, articles and discussions.
  • Assess what you feel is the realistic impact on the profession (and then on you and your organisation) in the coming months and years (and don’t forget to consider what your competitors might be doing to take advantage of artificial intelligence).

It is equally scary and exciting, depending upon your viewpoint, but resistance will be useless I assure you.

A last thought from the Future Real World:

Artificial intelligence will reach human levels by around 2029.
Follow that out further to, say, 2045, we will have multiplied the intelligence, the human biological machine intelligence of our civilization a billion-fold

-Ray Kurzweil 

Be part of the journey (and the solution)

Check out my recent webinar on AI in the Project Management world to learn all you need to know about Artificial Intelligence and what this will offer your profession in the coming years.
We explored the history of AI and considered why AI is both brilliant and stupid at the same time.

We looked at the four categories of AI that apply to our world of project management – project management process automation, project assistant style chatbots, project intelligence through machine learning, and the future state of the autonomous project manager.

This webinar will offer you a better understanding of the state of AI in project management and help you be able to ask the really important questions of yourself, and your organisation, that need asking in order to be truly ready for the revolution in project management.