Artificial Intelligence has been rising fast in every industry. This futuristic technology is expected to drive sustainable project management quickly. Here’s how.
Every year, approximately $48 trillion is invested in projects. Yet according to the Standish Group, only 35% of projects are successful. The wasted resources and unrealized benefits of the other 65% are mind-blowing. Gartner’s research indicates that change is coming soon, predicting that by 2030, 80% of project management tasks will be run by Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered by big data, machine learning (ML), and natural language processing. As the world begins to shift towards a more sustainable future seriously, the project management space is also shifting towards a more sustainable form – Sustainable Project Management.
The benefits of Artificial Intelligence for project management are most prominently discussed in regards to the predictive data analysis that by 2025 is predicted to take over a wide range of traditional project management activities such as project scheduling, resource allocation, basic cost management, cost forecasting and much more. With these capabilities, Artificial Intelligence will bring many benefits, particularly for developing sustainable project management practices.
By automating and streamlining extensive calculations and when paired with effective software and systems, Artificial Intelligence will enable more efficient processes all throughout the project lifecycle process. Efficient processes mean fewer resources in the project development phase and an overall reduced environmental impact. Logging data into systems takes time, energy and resources and should not be overlooked as a potential space for greater efficiency, both economically and environmentally.
Automation to free 360 hours every 365 days
Forbes found that Artificial Intelligence could save the average Fortune 500 company $4.7 million per year via automation. According to the report, 53% of employees state that they can save up to two work hours a day (240 hours per year) through automation, and 78% of business leaders posit that automation can free up to three work hours a day (360 hours per year).
We live in a time when global megatrends are actively reshaping our world rapidly. These large-scale macroeconomic and geostrategic forces – which we define as changes in ‘demographics’, the ‘shift in global power’, ‘urbanisation’, ‘climate change’ and ‘technological breakthroughs’ – are raising both profound challenges and opportunities for governments and businesses alike. In particular, ‘technological breakthroughs’, and the impact of advances such as Artificial Intelligence will have a huge impact on the future of the workforce, including the role of the project manager.
Three waves of job displacement
In PWC’s ‘22nd Annual Global CEO Survey’, 85% of CEOs agreed that Artificial Intelligence would significantly change how they do business in the next five years. With the availability of big data and strong processing power, Artificial Intelligence can act as a thinking processor. Even though nascent in its development, Artificial Intelligence can be applied to PM to reduce incredibly complex issues and play a significant role in their success.
PwC’s recent analysis of OECD data covering 200,000 jobs in 29 countries1 breaks Artificial Intelligence’s job-displacement effect into three waves: algorithmic (until the early 2020s), augmentation (to the late 2020s) and autonomy (to the mid-2030s). The first wave will impact relatively few jobs – perhaps 3%. By the mid-2030s, however, up to 30% of jobs could be automated – mostly those involving clerical and manual tasks. The need for upskilling the workforce is clear: as technology evolves at an ever-increasing pace, so too will employees’ skill sets to adapt and keep pace with such changes, so allowing all to thrive in the new era of Artificial Intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence can be used to analyse disparate and ‘big’ data with greater speed and dexterity to derive actionable, tangible insights. In this way, project managers will be empowered with more and better-quality data and insights to improve the speed, quality and accuracy of decision-making throughout the project lifecycle.
Technology to improve project selection
One reason for this disappointing rate is the low level of maturity of technologies available for project management. This is about to change. Researchers, startups, and innovating organizations are beginning to apply Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced technologies to project management, and by 2030 the field will undergo major shifts. Technology will soon improve project selection and prioritization, monitor progress, speed up reporting and facilitate testing. Project managers, aided by virtual project assistants, will find their roles more focused on coaching and stakeholder management than on administration and manual tasks.
If applying Artificial Intelligence and other technological innovations to project management could improve the success ratio of projects by just 25%, it would equate to trillions of dollars of value and benefits to organizations, societies, and individuals. Organizations and project leaders most prepared for this moment of disruption will reap the most rewards. Nearly every aspect of project management, from planning to processes to people, will be affected.
Risk management is ripe for automation
One of the most developed areas in project management automation is risk management. New applications use big data and ML to help leaders and project managers anticipate risks that might go unnoticed. These tools can already propose mitigating actions, and soon, they can adjust the plans automatically to avoid certain risks.
Artificial Intelligence will change how the discipline of project management and the role of project managers will function in the future. By 2030, 80% of the work of today’s project management discipline will be eliminated as Artificial Intelligence takes on traditional project management functions such as data collection, tracking and reporting.2 In this context, the role of the project manager will shift from ‘managers’ to ‘leaders’ who can integrate Artificial Intelligence capabilities into new practices and procedures, allowing for a greater focus on activities requiring soft skills such as ideation, communication, listening, problem-solving and emotional intelligence.