IPMA International Project Management Association
15 January 2021 / 11:00

Report: More than half of project management professionals see the adoption of Artificial Intelligence in their profession in the next 5 years

The current context, influenced also by the COVID-19 pandemic, has forced the rapid adoption of new technologies and innovations have gone beyond the boundaries of research laboratories and are now being implemented in everyday processes. For example, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is evolving and is being used in more and more fields, from diagnosing of certain diseases and fraud detection, to large infrastructure projects, healthcare, research, education and cultural projects, with the ability to transform industries, companies and institutions around the globe.



Today’s digital transformation is based on the organization’s ability to rapidly integrate and assimilate technology and tools as they evolve. Thus, in order to remain competitive, each organization must embrace AI and build a viable ecosystem. Companies that fail to adopt AI at least in certain operational segments in the next 10 years will remain behind their competitors. Like all business functions, also project management will have an automation component, so that routine responsibilities will be taken over by AI in the future


What do project managers think about adopting AI?

According to the study “Global Survey on Artificial Intelligence Impact in Project Management 2020”, conducted by PwC Romania and International Project Management Association (IPMA), 52% of project management professionals see the emergence of Digital Assistant role and the adoption of Artificial Intelligence in their profession in the next five years.

The roles most likely to be taken over by AI in project management over the next five years are Project manager assistant (52%) and Project manager adviser (44%).

More than half of project managers estimate an acceleration of the digitization process in the business environment by implementing artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, from digital assistants to standalone solutions that produce profound changes in the way we perceive and use technology.

At the same time, over 56% of respondents said that they are aware of the existence of a digital strategy within the companies in which they operate, the latter being concerned about how they can better communicate and capitalize on the opportunities that AI offers.

Currently, only 4% of respondents currently use AI, but about 65% have an AI implementation plan in the next 3 to 6 months or have already started transformation projects in this regard, which involve complex analysis tools, digital assistants or RPA (robotic process automation).

At the same time, only 23% of the total respondents have experience in using AI in project management, which indicates that the adoption of AI is in its infancy.

Thus, in addition to investments in technology, which AI solutions require, investments in upskilling (skills development) are needed for employees. Talent and in-house expertise to develop the type of ecosystem and solutions that can maximize AI capabilities are vital for today’s organizations.


The potential and benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions

The AI ​​technology with the greatest potential to be adopted to improve current practices in project management is machine learning, mentioned by 78% of survey participants.

When respondents were asked about the positive impact that AI will have in solving problems related to project management, they mentioned: time (66%), quality (56%) and transformation (53%).

Other processes mentioned by survey participants as having high potential from the perspective of management practices are related to the analysis of large volumes of data or the use of drones and augmented reality. An example in this sense are the infrastructure projects, where with the help of drones it is possible to map the evolution of the project through automatic processes, thus responding to several needs in management processes, such as planning and quality control.

The three main reasons for adopting AI technologies in project management, indicated by respondents, are: increased productivity (53%), improved decisions (52%) and increased performance (51%).

The results of the survey thus confirmed that the need for digitization is closely linked to the adoption of appropriate tools, but also a guide to good practice, essential to create value through technologies using artificial intelligence (AI) and to enable technological and implicit economic progress. . The transition to artificial intelligence solutions has significant effects, in most companies, involving changes in the transformation of current internal processes and the creation of new ways in which people with different abilities will work with new technologies.

IT governance and AI adoption in project management

IT governance is responsible for defining the roles of decision-makers in adopting new technologies and solutions and responsible for controlling and managing present and future IT resources.

Regarding the level of decision, 45% of respondents consider that executive managers are the right level of decision, followed by 19% who consider the level of governance of the project or program. The functional level was selected by 14% and only 13% consider the project team as the appropriate level for implementation decisions.

Within organizations that have already adopted AI technologies, over 61% of respondents indicated that the decision to adopt AI is made by executive and functional managers.

In conclusion, without a strong decision to create a digital backbone for every company, the implementation of AI technology can turn the company into a visionary or a delayed one.

The “Global Survey on Artificial Intelligence Impact in Project Management” survey was conducted between April and August 2020 among approximately 300 professionals involved in coordinating strategic projects with the technological component of the main branches of activity, to identify the implications of using Artificial Intelligence in Project Management. During the research, several opportunities with significant value were highlighted for both companies and employees who want to understand the implications and importance of artificial intelligence (AI) for their workplace, being concerned about future career prospects. The main opportunities identified were grouped into three main areas: governance, potential technologies and processes in use.

More details and the complete study by PwC and IPMA can be found here (https://www.ipma.world/researchers/research-projects/)

Author of this post: PwC (original post link)



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