AI will become fundamental to empowering the PMO
Artificial Intelligence is expected to become dominant in all industries across the globe. A report from McKinsey has predicted that by 2030, over 500 million workers will either be replaced by automation or have their job roles dramatically altered. For project managers, there is huge potential for PM to become far less about task monitoring and controls and much more about stakeholder engagement and strategic planning.
Over the coming years, the arrival of artificial intelligence and specifically machine learning, will mean project and portfolio managers are able to make faster, more informed decisions and eliminate many of the repetitive, mundane aspects of their work. Simple workflow elements such as task completion checks will be automated and software systems will have the intelligence to learn from historical data, offering prompts and improvements to the PMO. This will free up time to focus on performing more complex tasks, making recommendations and decisions in a way that has not been possible until now.
In practice, this could work at multiple levels. Take an oil and gas company running multiple capital investment projects and needing to purchase new equipment. Thanks to AI, their PPM system will prompt the PM with historical data on what was purchased in the past and offer related reliability history, plus report on pricing discounts that were originally available. This kind of data is immediately very useful in reducing the time needed to evaluate different systems and an effective, simple example of how incorporating AI into PPM software will fundamentally change the role of the PMO.
AI will also make the reliability and predictability of project management improve, by prompting the PMO using historical data. When setting up a new project, the system will offer suggestions about key tasks that will need completing based on former project elements, time lines and previous budgetary records. Overall, AI will effectively empower PMs to focus more on strategy execution rather than feel constrained by the need to complete mundane tasks.
6 ways AI will support project managers in future versions of ProjectObjects
- Estimate, planning and schedule project activity using historical data from similar projects;
- Provide a digital assistant to compile reports from systems for project managers;
- Provide insights from project data for actionable items and upcoming deadlines;
- Enable faster corrective action by predicting delays and defects earlier in the schedule;
- Enable more insightful and personalised communication to all stakeholders;
- Identify prospective suppliers by conducting a risk analysis and providing credit ratings for procurement partners.
Incorporating Virtual Reality (VR) will improve planning, communication and collaboration
Facilitated through the Internet of Things - the ability to integrate disparate devices and create a single solution - we anticipate extensive use of VR and simulation within PM in the future, especially for construction and engineering capital projects. This will be both through the use of modelling during the project design phases, for quality control and when nearing completion, in training phases.
Assisted by VR, the PMO is able to develop a much deeper understanding of the key issues to consider. It’s all too easy for a PM to sit in a remote office, away from the project site and to lack a detailed understanding of exactly why project timelines are slipping, or why the budget allocated is inadequate. VR will help to improve collaboration with project stakeholders, the PMO and those who initiate capital projects, by allowing them to better communicate requirements and the implications of what may be happening the ground more effectively on an ongoing basis.
Really good PPM systems will have the ability to support PMs with this kind of activity, using VR to provide full visibility of the area where a project takes place. For example, sitting miles away in an office, it is hard to visualise the conditions stakeholders can face on an oil rig in Kazakhstan. VR will help them obtain a much better understanding of the issues and in turn stakeholders can become more precise in their demands from the PMO.
At Project Objects, we are very excited by the impending integration of AI and VR technology within our software projects and look forward to sharing this with both new and existing customers in the months to follow.
Gioacchino Gaudioso is the CEO of Project Objects