Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the next wave of improvements for project management. What value would you place on a system that reviews thousands of lines of project documents and suggests improvements to the project scope statement, resource utilization, or risk mitigation in order to optimize project success? While project management may not be a high priority for AI developers there is no doubt that the technology will arrive and it will provide value.
The current landscape for AI in project management is sparse and fragmented. One AI tool works to create better cost estimates for the budget and another tool uses task variances in cost or schedule to predict future values. There needs to be a holistic approach in order to understand the dependencies across project processes and knowledge areas that many project managers do not consider. Based on that perspective, I am building a project management model in order to assess the best implementation and value that AI technology can provide.
My model is based on PMBOK® documents. There are a total of 51 documents listed in PMBOK® containing an approximate total of 330 field headings. If I assume a small project of one year in duration with 200 activities and 20 resources that totals over 14,000 data fields. This is why a project manager only oversees the project and cannot track all the details. Adding to the complexity is that the model needs to understand all the interconnected patterns in the project data and be able to utilize the dependencies to optimize the desired outcomes. The outcomes are, of course, defined by the project sponsor or customer with the main objectives of delivering the project scope within the budget and schedule constraints. The model also contains business rules which guide the project decisions. The business rules are based on the contents of the project management plan which contains the methods or procedures in which various processes are to be managed in the project.
The business rules are part of the intelligence of what AI tools will attempt to perform. Similar to the tools and techniques listed in each PMBOK® process, an AI tool needs to use the tools and techniques such as variance analysis and regression analysis to ensure that the project remains in good standing and manages to deal with the unpredictable issues that always seem to appear. The challenges are numerous and nuances are certain to emerge but at this point I believe everything is achievable with current technology.