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Is AI the new pathway to project management?

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

Many project managers are well-versed in the processes and methodologies that help track and manage projects, their schedules, and all their moving parts. But how long has it been since your organization or an outside consultant reviewed them in light of new automation tools available?

Project managers should know that artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are increasingly opening new pathways in project management. While there are benefits and pitfalls to incorporating AI-powered automation into project management, industry experts see it as a trend that will continue to grow in use, ability and impact in the project management field.

As recently as 2015, as the automation debate was underway, some voices argued that project management is too creative a process for successful automation. Others warned that business executives ignore the looming future of automation at their own risk.

Six years and an ongoing pandemic later, the conversation has changed from a discussion of the merits of automation to one more centered on implementation. This is because automation saves time, resources and, when properly implemented, can isolate trouble spots earlier than team members focused on specific tasks.

In its most basic terms, project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements. Hidden in this are the many administrative tasks that PMs spend time on that could be better used on more creative tasks that humans can perform better than artificial intelligence.

Boost Midwest has seen companies find success by implementing automation in these key areas of project management:

  • Capturing data and getting it to key people in real time.

  • Executing workflows.

  • Project status reports.

  • Budget management.

  • Recruiting.

  • Resource management.

  • Risk identification, monitoring and management.

  • Employee time reporting.

  • When compliance and other reporting conditions are met.

Automation can be as simple as a template or as complex as AI-driven data analysis.

However, industry experts studying automation in project management all stress as automation increases, so should the social and emotional skills of project managers to complement AI-led automation’s cognitive and technical abilities.

“Accompanying the adoption of advanced technologies into the workplace will be an increase in the need for workers with finely tuned social and emotional skills—skills that machines are a long way from mastering…While some of these skills, such as empathy, are innate, others, such as advanced communication, can be honed and taught,” global management consultants McKinsey & Company noted.”

And, of course, choosing the right automation software tools is critical. There are dozens upon dozens available. So, determining which tool (or tools) will best serve your unique project management needs may benefit from outside expertise.

Boost Midwest finds that best practices in project management often point to using outside consultants to review the data or details of a plan. This also provides legitimacy to third parties such as financial investors. However, outside consultants can prove invaluable in helping strategize and implement new methods, including automation, because they are experts in the latest trends and best practices across the entire business world.

In a discussion on the merits of inside versus outside consultants, the Project Management Institute stated, “It is worth noting that most of the time, external consultants can provide impartial/independent unbiased opinions and criteria, and specialized knowledge and experience otherwise not available to the organization.

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Ready to learn more about how Boost Midwest can help you optimize your project management and operations? Schedule your free consultation call with us today using our Quick Schedule Link here.

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