(photo by Dierk Schaefer)
The pace of technology development makes artificial intelligence (AI) more practical every day. From driverless vehicles to computers that beat humans at games, this technology can now access and process more information and do it faster than a human brain. As project managers we need to think about what changes have to take place in our project management processes and project documents in order to take advantage of the value that AI offers.
The challenge with introducing new technology in projects is that every project is unique. However, all projects follow some common basic processes and require the creation of project documents. One possible application for an AI tool is to search for 'anomalies' across project documents to verify completeness, accuracy and coherence in the project plan. Another application is to use Lessons Learned documents to allow an AI tool to predict where the project will likely have problems, why the problems are likely to occur and describe the ensuing impact on the project scope, budget and schedule. Imagine having a project management aid that performs analysis with results that easily increase project success rates?
In order to utilize AI capabilities a project will require an increased focus on data which, in essence, consists of the project documents. The PMBOK® list of project documents (Table 4-1 PMBOK® Guide, 6th ed.) is an excellent reference. The project management plan is the main document and it is used in conjunction with the following project documents:
Source: PMBOK® Guide 6th edition, Project Management Institute (PMI), page 89.
The advantage of an AI tool is that the number, size, and complexity of the documents is not an impediment to success. A disadvantage of current project documents is that in order to be successful, the documents need to be connected. This means the inclusion of tags to indicate linkages across all documents as opposed to independent documents which may contain abstract or generic references. Tags will be an important mechanism for AI tools to successfully crawl through project data and extrapolate adjustments that are required to optimize the performance or your project.