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What is artificial intelligence in project management?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is technology with the capability to advise on or even make project decisions.

Definition from Developing Project Data Analytics Skills

Data 620 X 620[1]

What is the importance of AI in project management?

The primary benefit of AI in project delivery lies in its ability to process enormous quantities of data.

By analysing past and current project data, AI can enable more effective decision-making around project delivery – better predicting the future performance of a project by considering all the variables.

📖 Read: Getting started in project data

What artificial intelligence means for the future of project management

Types of AI used in projects

Popular AI-powered language models such as ChatGPT generate human-like text and responses. Day-to-day this can assist with time-consuming project tasks such as replying to emails, creating documents (user stories, consolidating research, end user docs, etc) and writing presentations.

Other AI tools
There are many other AI tools that are useful for project-based work.

  • allows users to talk through ideas.
  • PaceAI helps to generate ideas for projects.
  • is useful for all types of research.

AI developments

Data intelligence expert James Garner told Project journal about the latest AI trends:

Microsoft has announced Copilot, an everyday AI companion designed to seamlessly integrate across Microsoft's most popular products, including GitHub, Microsoft 365, Bing and Edge, to offer a more tailored and efficient user experience.

GPT-4V has given ChatGPT the ability to analyse visual content. For example, GPT-4V can reconstruct website dashboards from screenshots, making the transition from design to prototype much quicker. It can also interpret and explain visual content like infographics.

📖 Read: How artificial intelligence is changing the game for project delivery

Different types of AI

Expert systems
Expert systems is a term used for systems to support decision-making. These systems are stated to store “knowledge from experts”. Expert systems typically follow a rule-based approach and generally lack the ability to adapt and learn from previous data.

Machine learning progress
Machine learning tools are used to identify patterns and relationships in large data sets and are able to ‘learn’ from this data. A common machine learning tool is ‘neural networks’, which predict project success. Off-the-shelf solutions such as TensorFlow by Google and services by IBM Watson Studio have significantly increased the accessibility of these tools. However, research shows that the practical implementation of AI is often delayed due to managers being uncertain how it can be used in their organisation and the difficulty of reusing AI models for different purposes.

Deep learning
As a sub-set of machine learning, deep learning offers a more complex way of analysing data. The ‘black box’ phenomenon is often used to describe the difficulty in interpreting the reasons behind the output of deep learning models.

How to use AI in project management

AI has become a significant tool for project professionals when delivering projects. A report, Artificial intelligence in project management led by the University of Southampton explored the general perception of AI and the ease of use of AI technology within projects.

Six key findings arose from the research:

  1. AI enhances decision-making in projects
  2. AI supports problem-solving functions
  3. AI is most likely to be used during project planning
  4. AI improves efficiency when analysing large volumes of data in projects
  5. AI has the potential to increase project success and mitigate project failure
  6. AI technology reduces some of the unknowns in complex projects

View full report

📖 Further reading: How we can learn to work with AI

Case studies: Understanding the current impacts of AI and the journey towards adoption

AI two menArtificial intelligence (AI) is already having real-world impacts across the project profession. A growing number of organisations are considering implementing some form of AI to support project delivery, with some having done so already.

Association for Project Management (APM) has produced a series of case studies to help project, programme and portfolio professionals better understand the current impacts of AI and the journey towards adoption.

📖  Gleeds: A deep dive into success

📖  MIGSO-PCUBED: Predicting project outcomes with new AI capability, Intelligent Project Prediction

📖  Network Rail: Laying the groundwork for AI adoption with a data-first strategy

What is the future of AI in project management?

According to the APM research report Can Artificial Intelligence Learn to be a Project Professional? potential implications for the professional status of project management, no matter whether human project professionals or an AI tool are considered, there is no conflict in terms of the targets of human project professional learning and AI learning.

The fundamental target is to enhance project management performance and deliver project outcomes.

Download research

📖 Further reading: The future of artificial intelligence in project management 🔒 Member only

📖 Further reading: The AI project management driven revolution is here

Not a member? Join APM

Further AI resources

Shutterstock 1081970570
Artificial Intelligence (AI): Changing how we deliver projects in the life science sector

New technologies, and particularly Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are transforming all areas of project delivery in the engineering and construction sectors ... read more.

Gettyimages 1214527751
AI in project management: where it comes from, what it is capable of and what comes next

Recently, there has been a lot of interest in the potential of large pre-trained language models, such as OpenAI's GPT, to transform the field of project management.  ... read more.

Gettyimages 1142994736
We must seek to understand how AI can improve (not replace) the project profession

There is no doubt about the impact of AI in many areas of business. Wherever there is lots of data about repeated events, AI can be used to find patterns, predict what comes next, diagnose problems and so on. ... read more.

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