(photo by ArtFrafx)
Let's put this out there. The goal of my research is to replace the project manager with artificial intelligence (AI) and I am building a model to do that. Fortunately, my work is moving very slowly so I encourage all my students to keep studying for the PMP® exam.
Many people, especially project managers, believe that replacing a project manager with AI is not possible. What is it that a project manager does that an AI based tool cannot perform better? AI has greater memory, performs more accurate analysis and makes faster decisions. Certainly, an AI project manager would have more business acumen than any of us.
The most common argument is that an AI tool cannot perform effective people management and this is where I disagree. Think of the worse manager that you ever had. The one with anger issues, who took credit for all your good ideas, never recognized or commented on anything that you did well, was extremely self interested, played political games and gave you a bad performance review based on personal bias not actual outcomes. Is this the project manager that you want to work for? There is no guarantee that the project manager will be the model of leadership that is often expected. Project managers are people and they have flaws. Many of them are terrible at managing people. I had a manager who refused to go to an employee's funeral because he claimed that he had to be on a conference call. I had a manager who got angry easily and blamed everyone but himself for failing to fix every major and minor issue in the project. Everyone has examples like this and some might even be worse.
Computer based tools that give instant feedback on your performance already exist. A simple example is the Kahoot app that I use in my classrooms. Students receive instant feedback regarding how well they perform and another feature allows them to compare their knowledge to others in the same group. AI tools have the ability to recognize facial expressions, something many managers cannot do and consequently they make rude or insensitive comments, oblivious to the personal impact. An AI based project manager may not take you out for lunch or discuss the latest viral video of a cat. On the other hand, an AI project manager won't harass you or find a way to refuse a promotion because of your race, gender, religion or other personal bias. Rewards and recognition will be based on performance, skills and accomplishments. Wouldn't you prefer this project manager?