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AI & ML: The Project Manager’s Lifeline

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are poised to change the way we work, live, and build software. SPR experts recently sat down with our Project Management community for a webinar on the use of AI and ML in project management. Matt Kendzicky, SPR’s Project Management Sales Specialist coordinated a recent event, which featured SPR’s Data Specialty Director Steven Devoe and Project Services Director Amy McDonough.

AI&ML: Where We Came From & Where We’re Going

AI and ML are making recent headlines but are not new concepts. On the contrary, technologists first conceived artificial intelligence in the 1950s. With computing power and data storage now faster and cheaper than ever before, AI is now, not just a possibility, but a reality. Experts believe that most aspects of our lives will soon be augmented by some form of AI—and many already are. Narrow applications of AI are already helping us pick our next purchase online or our next show on our favorite streaming platforms, helping us pick the fastest route through traffic and finishing our sentences when we draft emails.

The modern technologies that have improved our lives over the last hundred years, like color TV and microwaves, were adopted quickly, some in as few as five years. We’re noticing a similar trajectory for AI—and organizations and businesses should take note. ChatGPT, now a household name, grew to 100 million users faster than any application. Financing and investment into AI are growing at similar rates, with a projected market size of $1,591 billion by 2030.

Massive investments, coupled with the growing functionality of AI tools, and the staggering adoption rate herald a shift in our productivity and how we work. But Steven points out that humans will remain an integral part of the process as their work is aided by AI tools. AI will simply make us more productive and help free up time so we can do our most important work. Steven cited examples in interior design, healthcare and education. In each example, AI helps professionals do their jobs even better by interpreting inputs, surfacing data insights and providing recommendations.

Using AI to Help with a Project Manager’s Daily Tasks

Project managers can benefit from simple AI tools that allow them to focus on areas of their job where they provide the greatest value.  These tools can be implemented easily without having to write a single line of code. PMs are busy and a lot of times are overloaded, but hiring a Project Coordinator or using a tool like Jira or Smartsheet to help with small tasks can be cost prohibitive.

Using simple AWS (Amazon Web Services) tools like AppFlow, S3 Bucket, Lookout and Quicksight can help project managers automate simple tasks by connecting and centralizing data from multiple sources, detecting anomalies within metrics and identify the root causes of those anomalies, and creating visualization dashboards. These automated dashboards can easily answer questions PMs ask themselves every day, such as:

  • Is the project on schedule? Why or why not?
  • What tasks are in danger of throwing the project off schedule?
  • What new risks is the project team considering?
  • Are resources correctly allocated?
  • Is the project on budget?

Here’s a visualization that we created to answer the questions above. Instead of having to sift through data from multiple sources, PMs get answers quickly, freeing up their time to work with project team members to brainstorm solutions.

PM Dashboard

While AI and automation won’t necessarily replace your job, they will soon be part of how we all work in the knowledge economy. It’s important to understand these tools and adopt them early to stay ahead of the curve. Businesses and professionals that adopt these technologies early will benefit, while those who don’t will struggle to catch up. Use cases for AI and ML grow daily. Staying at the forefront of these technologies will allow professionals to be more productive, excel in their work and give them a competitive edge.

Our Project Management Community was designed to help IT project managers build and enhance their professional networks. It has evolved into a robust group of PMs from a wide variety of industries to share ideas, collaborate, and learn best practices. In addition to networking events and other functions, we provide our members with thought leadership and help them stay up to date on the latest trends in the technology world. Please contact us if you’d like to join this growing network.