Many project managers have taken up project management seriously, have studied project management frameworks, adopt and follow industry recommended best practices, contribute to better benchmarks for continuous improvements, ensure the value outcomes in terms of Quality, Timeliness , within Budgets, Scope and results are delivered in the projects that they manage as their core roles.
In reality, over the years of project management, Project Manager(PM) role is seen as a facilitator role of the envisioned project more so, than the value that they bring into the project outcome (or perhaps most of the time is gone in non-value added tasks and no real focus is on true project management). Here is a role in IT world which has all the accountability, but no direct responsibilities in the IT project, just collaborate and facilitate the project deliverables from various stakeholders and it’s perceived lately to be an easy role. We may agree/disagree with this latest notion, keeping our disagreements aside for a while, can we think of using a robot in project management space if the work is so predictive and tasks are easier as perceived?
With all the talks about artificial intelligence and neural networks, supervised and unsupervised machine learning around, how a company has institutionalized AI in their work areas, can we try to attempt methodically artificial-intelligencize project management?
Can we develop a neural network for project management and teach the bot to learn from all past projects and predict the current project? The answer is Yes!
Can we lead some fuzzy logic to the AI Network so that it can “think” on its own and make its “own decisions” when no past data is available for contexts not taught yet? The answer is Yes!
Can we have this but tirelessly interact and manage each Business Analyst, Developer, Tester in the team to be available as “Project Manager” who listens to the team? The answer is Yes!
Can we expect this bot to collate all project related information, update the senior management on the project progress and status with its clear and focused objectives? The answer is Yes!
Can this bot update the client dashboard with all necessary project details and interacts with a client? The answer is Yes!
Can this bot approve team member’s leave application keeping in mind that other team members are available to cover for the absent employee even if the human employee forgets that he/she approved most of the team members’ leave request for the same day when a project is going through a critical phase? The answer is Yes! Aha, the machine never forgets! Great memory! Sometimes, better than the human project manager!
How much work should the Bot do as a PM? It can work 24/7! Brilliant! Does it know what work to delegate to which team member? In order to do this, how much does the Bot need to learn about the skills and competencies of the team members? What about understanding the “interpersonal skills”? What about spending some social time with the team members outside of the office to understand the team better?
Now, wait a minute… Can Bot face a customer keeping the organization, delivery team, current project and prospective future projects from the same customer in mind? What if , Bot being built on either / combination of retrieval based or generative based responses entitles the bot to truly “objective” and ends up sharing all the information beyond a point with the client which a human project manager may not have actioned in a practical scenario in the best interests of the team, project or company? How much “trust” that the service provider should have on the bot talking to a customer? Can the bot PM Counsel and mentor team members which may not be learned only from its trained neural network?
Perhaps, we may still need a human project/program manager at least for the last 2 scenarios until we want to cross our boundaries of “humanizing” bots.
Until such time, how about having a Bot to assist PM the human Project Manager and be an advisor to human project manager to truly think about “business value addition” than mundane status reports, leave approvals and endless meetings and tracking actions? I hope, we, as humans know where to draw the boundaries in our attempt to “humanize” bots…