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Artificial Intelligence and Project Management

Krisztian Sardi Daniel Rodellar 100x100

Authors: Krisztian Sardi, PMP, and Daniel Rodellar, PMP

Marc’s daughter asked him: “What do you do all day at work?”. “I ask questions and get answers”, he replied and she then said: “Aaah… OK, ... so you are a chatbot!”

On Thursday 12th April 2018, PwC hosted the event that made the association between artificial intelligence (AI) and project management (PM). Manuel Probst started the presentation by explaining the evolution of project management profession. 

During this event we learned what the main cause of failures of projects / programs are, and then we discussed about the definition of AI (Artificial Intelligence).

With a review of the past years of Project Management, as the starting point of the event, we learned that around 200 years ago the industrial revolution changed society for good.

Did you know that it all started in Egypt with constructing the Great Pyramids (4500 years ago), or perhaps even earlier. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the term “project management” gained some popularity and ever since then it has started to evolve into what it is today.

Experts are predicting that Artificial intelligence (AI) in industry will change everything about the way we produce, manufacture and deliver. Machines could one day be taught to learn how to adapt by themselves, rather than having to be spoon-fed every instruction for every eventuality.

Beyond data integration and process automation, self-driven project management no longer looks like mere science fiction.

Marc Lahmann continued, giving us his view on the anticipated evolution of AI in project management as follows:

  • (1) Integration & Automation;  
  • (2) Chatbot Assistants;
  • (3) Machine-learning based project management;
  • (4) Autonomous project management.

He presented potential use-cases for all 4 steps. Finally, he answered the question of what does AI in Project Management mean to us, project managers in the near, mid- and long term future.

Artificial intelligence and  machine learning could be used for everything in Project Management. However quoting Stephen Wolfram: "we can automate everything that can be described." But, can we clearly describe everything?Ccan we clearly describe in an exact manner what a machine could execute and will the results be always as expected?

Why AI for project management? Well, since we still have projects failing - either on Scope, on Time or on Benefits -, we have repetitive tasks in PM and that we humans unfortunately do not have unlimited capacity (for data) and can only work 24h for 1 or 2 days max!

Some of us personally like to receive factual data based advises - no matter if it comes from a machine - that would help me, my colleagues, the project, the organization deliver better, more predictable results. What do you think?

As a child one of my favorite movies was “Back to the Future”. In 1985, at the age of pure cable telephones, no internet and no “Watson” I watched fascinated the McFlys having video phone calls in their daily life. Today I watch my robot mower doing its job better and better day by day without my inputs.

Hmm. You still ask. And so what?
Well, we definitely can not tell how it is going to be in 30 years.

What we can agree on though: it will be much much different than today, and beyond our current imagination!


Event: Artificial Intelligence & Project Management: Beyond human imagination!

PMI-CH Event team Romandie Thursday, April 12, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM (CEST) Geneva, Switzerland

By Marc Lahmann (Assurance Director) and Manuel Probst (Assurance Senior Manager).


AI will transform project management. Are you ready?


Message from the Board. April 2018 Newsletter


Agata Czopek 100x100

Author: Agata Czopek, PMP

Dear Friends,

The last two months has been extremely busy for me. Thanks to you:) 

I was overwhelmed by the number of people that contacted me after our Annual Membership Meeting with a question – “Can I join PMI Educational Foundation Department”?

Happily I can announce now that we have built a new great team! But what do you do? – you might still ask… We are taking small steps to reach our desired state where project management skills are known in Swiss schools. Where kids are doing small projects in classrooms, when teachers teach team building, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving through project based learning. Where we are magnifying the power of Non-profits and Non-Governmental Organizations in delivering their missions through the application of project management.

Want to join us?

Please contact me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I will never be able to reach our goal alone:)

Agata Czopek

VP PMI Educational Foundation

PS Want more? Read our small section below to find out more about our team!

Editorial April 2018 Newsletter

Carlos Martinez Arteaga 100x100

Author: Carlos Martinez Arteaga, PMP

Dear Members and Newsletter subscribers,

Recently I have been in two situations where the simplest solution fixed my problems.

One was related to the layout of rooms in my house, and the other within a project team.

In both cases I had done several changes, thinking that they would solve my problem, these had not been easy to implement, and brought along complications, mainly regarding the duration to implement these and the side effects once implemented.

I had really thought about these changes, thinking that they would definitely solve the problem, but no, the problem did not go away.

Finally, I realized that I had gone maybe too far, making things even more complex, and with a simple and quick fix, I found out that sometimes things can be fixed easily.

I learnt that having a clear idea of what the problem is can then result in an easy fix and that we should strip out those things that surround a problem but are not actually the problem.

Spring arrived and brought longer and warmer days. 

Enjoy the newsletter and take care.



GDPR: why PMI Switzerland did not ask for your consent

Recently, many information providers, associations and companies asked for consent to continue sending information. This is due to the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May 2018. Although Switzerland is not in the EU, companies in Switzerland are also impacted if they have contact with people residing in the European Union, which is the case for PMI Switzerland.

We were able to spare you from asking for your consent because we already have it. When you became member of PMI/PMI Switzerland, you gave us the consent to contact you for PMI/PMI Switzerland related matters and for any other matters, such as the Chapter Newsletter or the Events Email push lists. You needed to register specifically and already have the possibility to opt out, which means that PMI Switzerland is compliant for that aspect.

Of course, PMI Switzerland has a few items to adapt. We have done that and will continue to do so, in order to remain compliant. The member list has been removed from the website, rules in dealing with personal data have been adapted and further documentation has been provided, such as the Privacy Policy, for example.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Serge Garazi, VP Operations, GDPR Lead

Event Report - Knowledge Management - a guided core competency

Carlos Martinez Arteaga 100x100

Author: Carlos Martinez - PMP


Event Report “Knowledge Management- a core competency”

On Thursday 28th of September, PMI Switzerland brought to Basel, a great event, presented by Etzard Stolte from Roche. Etzard joined Roche a little over 2 years ago and is Global Head Knowledge Management at Roche Pharma Technical Development. I must say that Etzard was a great speaker and gave a good understanding on the Roche journey to deal with all the knowledge been generated by its workers.

There was a reflection made regarding the investment made by Pharma companies in R&D which needs to be mentioned, and that is that this investment can also be considered as an investment in knowledge, which needs to be correctly used and transmitted.

The amount of information generated today by any type of organization is quite considerable, without taking into consideration if it is all worth sharing or not, to handle this Roche invested in creating its own set of tools for storing and also to later make it available within the organization.

What to do to make the most of all this knowledge?

Well, through Knowledge Management and by increasing the communication and collaboration within the organization it can be possible to make a systematic exchange of knowledge. Afterwards, Knowledge Management should embed the processes in the organization by connecting people with people and then to the content. Finally there has to be systems, which will help to retain and grow the organizational knowledge.

Explained here this may seem simple, but it is not, for this Etzard presented what he and his team have been working for the last couple of years, and showed some of the initiatives, such as a single document management process across the organization, that is enabled by traditional semantic tools as well as state of the art AI tools.

According to Etzard, there are 2 types of knowledge within and organization:

·         Structure documents: SharePoint, Document Sharing

·         Un-structured documents: fileshares, g-drive

Then these can either be numerical or text data.

A Single Integration Platform was developed, with semantics and focus on quality of the data, also a search engine was developed within the organization (SmartSearch), as it was identified that if the common search engines where to be used then the data would also be available outside of the organization, as everything these engines search for is also read by these, and therefore is then available outside the organization.

Also there were other tools developed to support the knowledge sharing these were to cover the areas of: 

  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Processes

  • Systems

 The path is not easy, and this at Roche is still on the way on its final 3rd, this can be broken into 3 major yearly steps.

 1st. Develop the processes and integrate them within the closest organization

 2nd. Migration of the all the organizational knowledge to the developed Platform following the processes

 3rd. Complete organizational integration.

 Roche solved the problem regarding how the information should be stored by creating a standard folder structure for each product they own. This came as a result of gathering all folder structures from the different departments and scrutinizing which folders were required and which not and at the same time if these were relevant to all departments. The task was not easy, as each department had its very own folder structure, but was totally necessary in order a storing process could be developed, that could serve the complete organization. Later, another greater effort was needed, which was to implement the standard folder structure and to ensure that this was followed.

 When users are storing their files, for them it seems that all folders are available in the same place, so called EasyDrive, but this is not the case, given restrictions with access rights and confidentiality levels.

 In the background folders are held in different systems, also to facilitate the operation of all other tools that Roche has created to facilitate Knowledge sharing and search (e.g. TubeMaps, for document finding)

 Finally if a user cannot find a document, Roche created a tool called UberMinds, which helps users get in contact with experts. This is possible by

 So far, as Etzard explained, the work has given very good results, with a great percentage of the organization making use of the tools that he and his team have developed.

 The access to the data was done based on the HR database, which structured the levels of confidentiality each user could access to, for this a re-structuring of the organizations levels was required.

Take away:

  • Data needs to be owned, it requires internal systems for this.
  • Facilitate knowledge so that this can be re-used

  • Centralize Information/Knowledge, for this if there are existing systems, keep them, but change the processes

  • Access to date should be fair and easy

  • For a better cross-cultural implementation of a process, hire as many people from as many different cultural backgrounds for this, as this will ease internally the process implementation.


Attached is the presentation. Part 1  Part 2