Why Join the Digital Dance?
Dancing with the Stars, or in the UK Strictly Come Dancing as the original is named, pairs celebrities with professional dancers. Each week the couples perform predetermined dances and compete for judges’ points and audience votes.
Weekly, the pairings become a closer and more harmonic partnership (mostly) and, by the end of the season, we see some truly amazing dances in the finale. Their progress week to week represents development of a bond of trust as the professional and the amateur dancers join forces to become one dancing entity.
The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) into the profession of project management has emerged over recent years as a kind of ‘digital dance’. In my book ‘AI and the Project Manager: How the rise of Artificial Intelligence will change Project Management’ I tried to articulate this concept. Why? Well because big, no make that ‘huge’, changes are coming.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) will reinvent project, programme, and portfolio management.
A bold statement I realise but it is not one that I alone believe in.
Gartner states that by 2030, 80% of the work of today’s project managers will be eliminated as AI takes on functions such as data collection, tracking, reporting, analytics, and predictive analysis. That may sound far away, but a lot will happen over these eight years.
An estimated 80% of what project managers do today, can be eliminated because AI can execute it more effectively and efficiently. Project managers may worry about job security when reading this prediction. But instead – consider my analogy of Dancing with the Stars. Trust the emerging technology that offers solutions. Smart project managers will relish this shift, thereby stepping into this amazing opportunity to join the ‘digital dance’. Project manager and AI in beautiful rhythm.
Now, to be very clear, I am not referring to the various dance-oriented experiments going on around the world. Google, for example, in a recent experiment ’taught’ AI to dance like a human. Working with Damien Henry, technical programme manager at Google’s Arts & Culture in Paris, British choreographer Wayne McGregor used an AI-driven tool that can generate its own independent choreography based on hundreds of hours of video footage it has been fed. Neat, but not what I am talking about.
My idea of the ‘digital dance’ is the process of a human connecting, aligning, and partnering with AI technology to produce an enhanced deliverable or outcome. Project managers have forever been burdened with managing the current state of projects whilst trying to keep a strategic perspective to understand possible outcomes and threats to their projects. Many times PMs become overloaded with meetings, information, shifting priorities, updating plans to reflect changes and more. In these moments, it’s easy to get lost in the current fire drill, ignoring the future, often at their peril.
Artificial intelligence, I truly believe, can allow more time for project managers to take a strategic approach to project planning. All project ‘people’ need to start incorporating ‘AI’ now and into the future to make themselves better project managers. AI is one of the most important step-ups in terms of how humans will interact with the planet, each other, and technology that we’ve had in our lifetime. It is a true game-changer. A real paradigm shift. Yes, I know we have heard such statements so many times when it was only an incremental change, but this is different – that when embraced, will deliver tangible and lasting value.
AI is more than just a buzzword in business. It’s more than just headlines or articles in magazines and on TV and social media. It is more than some nerdy or niche technology.
Let’s take just one aspect of the work that I and thousands of others do, in project leadership. We communicate a lot and with copious amounts of resultant ‘data’, which can be a problem.
How can you streamline all that communication about the project, in a manner that you, the team, the sponsor, and the extended stakeholder community can rapidly absorb and understand?
Here’s another communication overload problem. Resources change, plans change, priorities change, issues occur, and mitigation happens, all of which produce a time-sensitive decision-demanding scenario for project managers. The pace can be frenetic and sense of urgency demands near-term decision making, however we must bear in mind the outcomes are long-term and significant. Project managers have long wished for a time machine or a crystal ball. Sadly, the time machine is not feasible, but to a significant extent, artificial intelligence can offer up a digital crystal ball.
The Gartner report further states, ‘Data collection, analysis and reporting are a large proportion of the PPM discipline. AI will improve the outcomes of these tasks, including the ability to analyze data faster than humans and using those results to improve overall performance. As these standard tasks start to get replaced, PPM leaders will look to staff their teams with those who can manage the demands of AI and smart machines as new stakeholders.’
Time to let the ‘digital dance’ begin.
One way to jump-start your digital dance is to try LiquidPlanner which uses a Monte Carlo simulation to predict schedule dates and show how changes – like shifting priorities, scope adjustments or taking on new work – impacts projects and resource constraints across your portfolio. It proactively updates your timelines taking hours of manual labor off your plate as project managers. Many other project management solutions don’t automate this process for you, which isn’t the kind of digital dance that streamlines our time. LiquidPlanner’s planning intelligence is the only project management tool that predicts a finish date with 90% confidence and a great example of the ‘digital dance’ here and now, today. Give it a try and let us know how you have already incorporated AI into your project management toolbox.
About the Author
Keynote speaker and coach, Peter Taylor is the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, along with many other books on Project Management, PMO development, Executive Sponsorship, Transformation Leadership, and Speaking Skills. He has built and led some of the largest PMOs in the world with organisations such as Siemens, IBM, UKG, and now Ceridian, where he is the VP Global PMO. He has also delivered over 500 lectures around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’. www.thelazyprojectmanager.com
 Dancing with the Stars is an American dance competition television series that is the U.S. version of the UK series Strictly Come Dancing.