Through the integration of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and a repository of project documents, project staff will soon be able to retrieve information from their project by asking their smart device a simple question. “What is the scope of the project?” NLP processes the verbal or written expression to find the information and respond. How is this possible? The system identifies what you say, also known as an utterance, identifies the intent behind the statement, then searches a project document to create the response. This is a straightforward process, although project management has some unique project vocabulary that needs to be taken into consideration when building a virtual project assistant.
An important aspect of the system is, of course, data. In this situation, the data is all the project documents, stored in an easy to access format. Imagine your smartphone being able to respond to questions about anything from stakeholder management strategies to organization policies. In the future, the virtual assistant will be linked to an intelligent agent that improves the response by adding both rules-based logic, such as that used for self-driving vehicles, and machine learning algorithms.
Instead of working through massive problems and options manually, a project manager can rely on the extensive experience programmed into a virtual assistant to find the solution. However, research also shows that collaboration between a person and an AI tool improves the probability of success. Project managers need to understand that concept and make appropriate adjustments to adapt to the new technology.
Written by: Courtney Madruga & Paul Boudreau
Courtney Madruga received an undergraduate degree from the University of Ottawa and recently completed the Post Graduate Program in Project Management at Algonquin College, Canada. She is driven to find innovative solutions, has a sharp focus on customer satisfaction, and has excellent leadership qualities. Courtney currently works for Stonemeadow Consulting where she conducts research into AI-based concepts for project management.
Paul Boudreau is currently involved in the research and development of AI tools for project management. He published two books on this topic: Applying Artificial Intelligence to Project Management, and How the PMO Can Use AI to Improve the Bottom Line (both are available on Amazon). He is also a project management professor in the School of Business at Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada