Artificial intelligence and its use in project management

Sylvie Pokorná
May 26, 2020
English

We live in times when technology and research are constantly evolving. Across a multitude of studies, we are observing significant progress and innovation in all fields of science. Although the use of automation to facilitate manual work has been a staple for industry, the use of artificial intelligence is increasing as well. In fact, it is conceivable that in the future, artificial intelligence (or A. I.) will become a fundamental piece of technology, and therefore it will become integral both professional and a personal life. But what exactly does artificial intelligence mean to us now?

A. I. and its use

A. I. is an autonomous system. It is basically a system which sets the rules and then follows them. If after certain repetitions it evaluates that any step can be done better, it “reprograms itself” and then it follows the new rules. With the capacity for computing nowadays, A. I. is able to learn very quickly and it can bring great advances to all walks of life, as many of the decisions made by A. I. tend to be rooted in mathematics. Therefore we can assume that if we extend the scope of A. I. there are many other benefits that can be reaped. However, the development of such an exacting technology will consume a lot of time, so it makes sense that we have seen online lending of A. I. elements, such as features for face recognition which works by connecting cameras to a service that has been “trained” to that specific task. This advanced technology can then be borrowed from the company for a monthly payment.

Repetitive processes in the project management

As it happens, when the biggest industries fulfill a demand (such as army, secret services, security, IT, healthcare, etc.), people usually start to look for A. I. employment in the other less key industries.

We commonly come across these processes in project management. We understand processes as a certain procedure in which we must get from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible which can be repeated. However, many companies don’t know how to integrate this type of automation. At the moment, there is no perfect A. I. capable of taking on the role of a project manager by planning orders, sending emails, or even making the decisions that would be the responsibility of a CEO. There will always be limitations, and in the meantime the best strategy is to find the best application of the technology where the inputs will always be the same. Furthermore, A. I. will be able to measure outputs as well (most often it will be the time spent on a specific process part).

The next enhancement of the A. I. may or may not be the inclusion of a competence matrix. We have been dealing with this question for some time now and therefore we know that this is not a simple matter. In practice, this would mean the A. I. would be able to plan the process into a work schedule and choose from the list of employees one competent person suitable for completing the process steps. The idea is great, but the steps involved in teaching an autonomous system how to accomplish this is quite complicated, and not everyone who has good Java programming experience is able to deliver such a feature.

But let’s get back to the repeated processes. Repeated processes (e.g. invoicing) can already be very well coordinated and automated. Artificial intelligence can replace the management functions and decide which tasks need to be performed first, so that the running of other concurrent projects does not affect one another. It is probably clear that such decisions are a matter of seconds for an A. I., whereas experienced management would be able to make the same decision only after much deliberation and manual work. In business, time is very precious. Another benefit of A. I. is the ability to make predictions. Artificial intelligence records all the process changes and it can then predict their future course based on the certain trend.

The greatest benefit may not be the greatest

If we consider planning as one of the primary artificial intelligence activities, the greatest benefit (though it may not seem so at first glance) is automatic planning and rescheduling based on the changes it receives from employees. In practise, it looks like this: the project manager plans a certain procedure using a certain planning tool and automatically transfers it into the production plan of the project. In case of any changes, he or she must reschedule the project by themselves. Another disadvantage is that they do not see the complexity of the whole company. This is where the future of planning using A. I. has a huge advantage, since A. I. can consider all the variables (in addition to the entire company) in seconds and at minimal cost.

 

We believe that the progress and use of artificial intelligence will be highly prized and valued by project managers and people in management posts. Such technology will help them plan and optimize repetitive orders, and thanks to automation they can use their saved time more efficiently.

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