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Data driven projects & AI in project management

Data driven projects & AI in project management

Martin Harri NEW 2023


Martin Härri, PMP, PMI-SP, PMI-ACP, DASSM, Director Corporate Relationships

Adi Muslic NEW 100x100

Co-author: Adi Muslic, PMP, VP Sponsors & Partners

On 25th of January, over 30 senior project professionals from 20 organizations gathered at RUAG’s premises in Thun, to talk about data driven projects and the application of AI in project management.

It was the 35th meeting of the Swiss Corporate Networking Group. This network, created back in 2010, is bringing together representatives of 25 organizations based in Switzerland that are sharing best practices and experiences about project management topics of relevance to their companies. More about the PMI SCNG can be found here.

Five presentations looked at the topic from various angles. First, PwC talked about how AI has been hyped, and is being hyped as a disruptor of almost everything, but has so far mostly failed to live up to the expectations. There are however a few niches where AI is successfully applied, and these niches are growing bigger. One of them was then presented by INAIT, which has developed an application which scans contracts for meeting specific clauses, a use case which is certainly very relevant for large organizations. IBM also presented an interesting use case where they applied AI to monitor the health of their projects, and a case where they had used the technology in a customer project, predicting the right moment to do maintenance on electricity generators.We could see that there was some progress in implementation of Machine Learning technologies, helping to better track and deliver projects. But we also learned that for efficient use of AI, we need a lot of well structured and consistent data.

So two further presentations then focused on data quality. A speaker from Procter & Gamble presented how he keeps track of the status of a huge program which involves 2,000 people at the company, and Holcim talked about how they managed to get the accuracy of their project estimates to within +/- 5%, a very impressive number!

While data driven projects exist, making use of detailed measurements and automation to drive project execution and ensure high predictability, the story about AI in project management is not that bright yet. It seems that there is very little use of AI in project management yet. So, to round off the day, the participants brainstormed about ideas how AI could be applied in projects, the result was a very fascinating list. We are very curious about what might be put into practice in the next few years.

At the end of the day, it was clear to everyone  that AI will not replace humans, or if you like, project managers. But, it will help them maximize their efficiency by augmenting their capabilities.

If you are interested in this topic we invite you to read Marc Lahman’s interview given in October 2022 in the chapter newsletter.

And to quote a statement which is currently widely used:: “Do not forget, AI will not replace you, a person using AI will.”

Worried? Would you like to know more? How do you surmount the obstacles to implementing AI in project management? .

Martin Härri & Adi Muslic

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