If you’ve been a team leader, or managed projects in the past, you may understand how project management is a science. From communication skills to pieces of technology, it’s one of those fields that requires a diverse toolbox to be successful. Now, with the rapid rise of AI, there are some interesting ways that project management can be supercharged. Everything from automation, data analysis/forecasting, resource management, and more can benefit from a bit of AI. This is why, AI and generative AI isn’t just for coders or developers, as AI can enhance most workers.
So let’s take a look at how project managers can see significant benefits from using AI.
Data Analysis & Forecasting
Believe it or not, as a project manager, you’re being bombarded with a constantly growing stream of data. Depending on the amount and/or scale of your project(s), all of this information could be critical in ensuring that tasks are being done, and everything is staying on course. But even for the most seasoned project managers, the wealth of information and data points can be overwhelming. And this is where AI can come in.
Not only can AI analyze your project-related data and provide some key insights, but due to its nature, AI can trigger warnings or help you find patterns that may indicate a larger issue. This can be done with something as simple as Excel’s pivot tables, Google Data Studio, or other visualization tools such as PowerBI. Tracking time, resources, and other important KPIs can help project managers properly plan out their projects, find a possible bottleneck, or even ensure that costs are kept under control.
There are also timeline forecasting tools that are integrated into popular platforms such as Monday.com, Asana, and Trello that leverage machine learning algorithms to help generate project insights that can also forecast for the project manager.
Automation and Efficiency
Believe it or not, automation and efficiency are two areas in that AI can really enhance and improve the life of a project manager. Let’s touch on automation first. If you’re a seasoned project manager, particularly in the software field, you know that there are many repetitive and mundane tasks that aren’t too difficult but are time-consuming. But with AI, you can set up a few specific rules and allow the tool to automatically assign tasks, data entry, reminders, and updates on project statuses. This works particularly well if milestones are well-known and are able to be tied to these AI systems.
Project managers free themselves from having to write up new tasks and send reminders, and can all be done with the aid of AI. You can instead build out a set of rules and triggers to activate based on pre-determined factors saving a lot of hours manually writing up emails, tasks, etc. All of this in turn allows the project manager to focus on problem areas and get ahead of issues before they become a liability.
Overall, using tools such as Jira, Monday.com, Zapier, and others allow project managers to unload these tasks so they may be able to place more focus where they’re needed.
For many mid-level to high-level project managers, risk management is a critical component of their job. Knowing when and why to act is important, but often identifying and managing risks effectively can be a stressful and time-consuming activity. But this is where AI tends to thrive. That’s because AI is great at looking at finding patterns, especially if you have historical data to work off of.
By analyzing historical project data, these AI-powred tools can identify potential risks and find patterns that may turn into issues later in the project’s life cycle. Though humans are great at what we do, it’s not unknown for clear patterns and data points to be overlooked, especially if the data is vast. But with AI tools such as Active Risk Manager or LogicManager, project managers can feed information to the programs to monitor project metrics. This in turn allows them to find anomalies, and they’ll be alerted to potential issues so they may be able to take proactive steps instead of just being reactive.
For those outside of the project management world, resource management is one of the least-known aspects of the job. As project managers know, being able to properly manage the resources given by your organizations is a key factor in their jobs. They have to be able to ensure that human capital is utilized in an optimal manner while being aware of any gaps in skillsets and teams. This is because, if resources aren’t managed well, a project manager can find themselves with a nasty bottleneck, or resources used for the wrong tasks.
But with AI tools such as Teamdeck, Float, and Microsoft Project, project managers are able to define their resources track availability and assignments, and optimize resource allocation using AI-based algorithms to ensure that projects are on track with the resources required. Though there is a bit of automation when it comes to resource management, these AI tools mostly optimize resource utilization to ensure a balanced workload for teams and finally, so that the project manager can make informed editions based on allocation and planning.
Communication & Collaboration
There is no dyning it. Remote work has taken the world by storm. And though the tech fields have been pioneers in remote work, there are still challenges faced by project managers when it comes to their projects and a lack of centralized settings, especially considering it’s becoming more and more common for team members to live in different time zones. As any project manager knows, communication is key to ensuring that teams are able to collaborate in an effective manner. If this becomes a problem, entire projects can find themselves at risk because team members and the project managers aren’t on the same page.
But this is where AI can come in. With AI-powered tools, it is fast becoming easier to communicate across entire continents, this helps keep teams scattered to the winds on the same page and working like a well-oiled machine. Of course, many know about Zoom, Trello, Cisco Webex, and Microsoft Teams. What many may not know, is that these programs come with AI enhancements.
From the automatic transcription of meetings to meeting insights, shared workspace whiteboards, and more, these programs allow for a variety of different tools to be available to teams and project managers so they can reduce the lag in communications between team members, and even groups within teams. It’s critical to reduce silos as much as possible, so with AI tools such as Google’s smart suggestions, teams are given more ways to stay on board and on projects.
Similar to resource and risk management, decision-support tools enable project managers to utilize both live and historical project data to generate important insights which in turn provide recommendations based on what the AI is fed. These tools become very useful when a project manager is faced with a complex series of decisions and many need a bit more information to land on an informed decision.
Tools such as RapidMiner and Domo provide many business intelligence tools that allow project managers to pull together all the data they have on hand, review anomalies, KPS, trends, and with AI algorithms, make sense of what they’re seeing.
Overall, AI can give project managers an unbeatable edge with advanced analytics, automation, resource management, risk management, communications, and decision support. All of these capabilities can enable project managers to make better-informed decisions, streamline processes, mitigate risks, and ultimately deliver successful projects while being mindful of their teams.
But there is a lot more out there when it comes to project management and AI. First, the upcoming Generative AI Summit. This free one-day event can help you get past all the smoke, mirrors, and hype surrounding generative AI, and so you can see for yourself how this technology can truly bring out the best when it comes to capabilities.
If you’re interested in what startups and businesses are cooking up in the realm of AI and project management, then you won’t want to miss the AI Expo at ODSC West this November. Meet, mingle, and network with companies that are the pioneers of AI and laying the foundations of the future. So what are you waiting for? Join us at the ODSC West AI Expo!