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How AI Will Transform Project Management



Sometime in the near future, the CEO of a large telecom provider is using a smartphone app to check on her organization’s seven strategic initiatives. Within a few taps, she knows the status of every project and what percentage of expected benefits each one has delivered. Project charters and key performance indicators are available in moments, as are each team member’s morale level and the overall buy-in of critical stakeholders.

She drills down on the “rebranding” initiative. A few months earlier, a large competitor had launched a new green brand, prompting her company to accelerate its own sustainability rollout. Many AI-driven self-adjustments have already occurred, based on parameters chosen by the project manager and the project team at the initiative’s outset. The app informs the CEO of every change that needs her attention — as well as potential risks — and prioritizes decisions that she must make, providing potential solutions to each.

Before making any choices, the CEO calls the project manager, who now spends most of his time coaching and supporting the team, maintaining regular conversations with key stakeholders, and cultivating a high-performing culture. A few weeks earlier the project had been slightly behind, and the app recommended that the team should apply agile techniques to speed up one project stream.

During the meeting, they simulate possible solutions and agree on a path forward. The project plan is automatically updated, and messages are sent informing affected team members and stakeholders of the changes and a projection of the expected results.

Thanks to new technologies and ways of working, a strategic project that could have drifted out of control — perhaps even to failure — is now again in line to be successful and deliver the expected results.

Back in the present, project management doesn’t always move along quite as smoothly, but this future is probably less than a decade away. To get there sooner, innovators and organizations should be investing in project management technology now.

Project Management Today and Path Forward

Every year, approximately $48 trillion are invested in projects. Yet according to the Standish Group, only 35% of projects are considered successful. The wasted resources and unrealized benefits of the other 65% are mind-blowing.

For years in our research and publications, we have been promoting the modernization of project management. One reason we have found why project success rates are so poor is the low level of maturity of technologies available for managing them. Most organizations and project leaders are still using spreadsheets, slides, and other applications that haven’t evolved much over the past few decades. These are adequate when you are measuring project success by deliverables and deadlines met, but they fall short in an environment where projects and initiatives are always adapting — and continuously changing the business. There has been improvement in project portfolio management applications, but planning and team collaboration capabilities, automation and “intelligent” features are still lacking.

If applying AI and other technological innovations to project management could improve the success ratio of projects by just 25%, it would equate to trillions of dollars of value and benefits to organizations, societies, and individuals. Each of the core the technologies described in the story above is ready — the only question now is how soon they will be effectively applied to project management.

Gartner’s research indicates that change is coming soon, predicting that by 2030, 80% of project management tasks will be run by AI, powered by big data, machine learning (ML), and natural language processing. A handful of researchers, such as Paul Boudreau in his book Applying Artificial Intelligence Tools to Project Management, and a growing number of startups, have already developed algorithms to apply AI and ML in the world of project management. When this next generation of tools is widely adopted, there will be radical changes.

6 Aspects of Project Management that Will Be Disrupted

We see these coming technological developments as an opportunity like none before. Organizations and project leaders that are most prepared for this moment of disruption will stand to reap the most rewards. Nearly every aspect of project management, from planning to processes to people, will be affected. Let’s take a look at six key areas.

1. Better selection and prioritization

Selection and prioritization are a type of prediction: which projects will bring the most value to the organization? When the correct data is available, ML can detect patterns that can’t be discerned by other means and can vastly exceed human accuracy in making predictions. ML-driven prioritization will soon result in:

  • Faster identification of launch-ready projects that have the right fundamentals in place
  • Selection of projects that have higher chances of success and delivering the highest benefits
  • A better balance in the project portfolio and overview of risk in the organization
  • Removal of human biases from decision-making

2. Support for the project management office

Data analytics and automation startups are now helping organizations streamline and optimize the role of the project management office (PMO). The most famous case is President Emmanuel Macron’s use of the latest technology to maintain up-to-date information about every French public-sector project. These new intelligent tools will radically transform the way PMOs operate and perform with:

  • Better monitoring of project progress
  • The capability to anticipate potential problems and to address some simple ones automatically
  • Automated preparation and distribution of project reports, and gathering of feedback
  • Greater sophistication in selecting the best project management methodology for each project
  • Compliance monitoring for processes and policies
  • Automation, via virtual assistants, of support functions such as status updates, risk assessment, and stakeholder analysis

3. Improved, faster project definition, planning, and reporting

One of the most developed areas in project management automation is risk management. New applications use big data and ML to help leaders and project managers anticipate risks that might otherwise go unnoticed. These tools can already propose mitigating actions, and soon, they will be able to adjust the plans automatically to avoid certain types of risks.

Similar approaches will soon facilitate project definition, planning, and reporting. These exercises are now time-consuming, repetitive, and mostly manual. ML, natural language processing, and plain text output will lead to:

  • Improved project scoping by automating the time-consuming collection and analysis of user stories. These tools will reveal potential problems such as ambiguities, duplicates, omissions, inconsistencies, and complexities.
  • Tools to facilitate scheduling processes and draft detailed plans and resource demands
  • Automated reporting that is not only produced with less labor but will replace today’s reports — which are often weeks old — with real-time data. These tools will also drill deeper than is currently possible, displaying project status, benefits achieved, potential slippage, and team sentiment in a clear, objective way.

4. Virtual project assistants

Practically overnight, ChatGPT changed the world’s understanding of how AI can analyze massive sets of data and generate novel and immediate insights in plain text. In project management, tools like these will power “bots” or “virtual assistants.” Oracle recently announced a new project management digital assistant, which provides instant status updates and helps users update time and task progress via text, voice or chat.

The digital assistant learns from past time entries, project planning data, and the overall context to tailor interactions and smartly capture critical project information. PMOtto is a ML-enabled virtual project assistant that is already in use. A user can ask PMOtto “Schedule John to paint the wall next week and allocate him full time to the task.” The assistant might reply, “Based on previous similar tasks allocated to John, it seems that he will need two weeks to do the work and not one week as you requested. Should I adjust it?”

5. Advanced testing systems and software

Testing is another essential task in most projects, and project managers need to test early and often. It’s rare today to find a project major project without multiple systems and types of software that must be tested before the project goes live. Soon, advanced testing systems that are now only feasible for certain megaprojects will become widely available.

The Elizabeth line, part of the Crossrail project in the United Kingdom, is a complex railway with new stations, new infrastructure, new tracks, and new trains; it was, therefore, important that every element of the project went through a rigorous testing and commissioning process to ensure safety and reliability. It required a never-before-seen combination of hardware and software, and after initial challenges, the project team developed the Crossrail Integration Facility. This fully automated off-site testing facility has proven invaluable in increasing systems’ efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and resilience. Systems engineer Alessandra Scholl-Sternberg describes some its features: “An extensive system automation library has been written, which enables complex set-ups to be achieved, health checks to be accurately performed, endurance testing to occur over extended periods and the implementation of tests of repetitive nature.” Rigorous audits can be run at the facility 24-7, free from the risk of operator bias.

Advanced and automated system testing solutions for software projects will soon allow early detection of defects and self-correcting processes. This will significantly reduce time spent on cumbersome testing activities, reduce the number of reworks, and ultimately, deliver easy-to-use and bug-free solutions.

6. A new role for the project manager

For many project managers, automating a significant part of their current tasks may feel scary, but successful ones will learn to use these tools to their advantage. Project managers will not be going away, but they will need to embrace these changes and take advantage of the new technologies. We currently think of cross-functional project teams as a group of individuals, but we may soon think of them as a group of humans and robots.

With a shift away from administrative work, the project manager of the future will need to cultivate strong soft skills, leadership capabilities, strategic thinking, and business acumen. They must focus on the delivery of the expected benefits and their alignment with strategic goals. They will also need a good understanding of these technologies. Some organizations are already building AI into their project management education and certification programs, and Northeastern University is incorporating AI into its curriculum, teaching project managers how to use AI to automate and improve data sets and optimize investment value from projects.

Data and People Make the Future a Reality

When these tools are ready for organizations, how will you make sure your organization is ready for them? Any AI adoption process begins with data, but you must not fail to prepare your people as well.

Training AI algorithms to manage projects will require large amounts of project-related data. Your organization may retain troves of historical project data, but they are likely to be stored in thousands of documents in a variety of file formats scattered around different systems. The information could be out-of-date, might use different taxonomies, or contain outliers and gaps. Roughly 80% of the time spent preparing a ML algorithm for use is focused on data gathering and cleaning, which takes raw and unstructured data and transforms it into structured data that can train a machine learning model.

Without available and properly managed data, the AI transformation will never happen at your organization — but no AI transformation will flourish if you don’t also prepare yourself and your team for the change.

This new generation of tools will not only change the technology on how we manage projects, but will change completely our work in the project. Project managers must be prepared to coach and train their teams to adapt to this transition. They should increase their focus on human interactions while identifying technology skill deficits in their people early and work to address them. In addition to focusing on project deliverables they should focus on creating high performing teams in which members receive what is needed to allow them to perform at their best.

If you are seriously considering applying AI to your projects and project management practices, the following questions will help you assess your decision.

  • Are you ready to spend time making an accurate inventory of all your projects, including the latest status update?
  • Can you invest several resources for some months to gather, clean, and structure your project data?
  • Have you made up your mind to let go of your old project management habits, such as your monthly progress reports?
  • Are you prepared to invest in training your project management community in this new technology?
  • Are they willing to move out of their traditional comfort zones and radically change how they manage their projects?
  • Is your organization ready to accept and adopt a new technology and hand over the reins on decisions with increasingly higher stakes?
  • Are you ready to let this technology make mistakes as it learns to perform better for your organization?
  • Does your executive sponsor for this project have the capability and credibility in your organization to lead this transformation?
  • Are senior leaders willing to wait several months, up to one year, to start seeing the benefits of the automation?

If the answer to all these questions is yes, then you are ready to embark on this pioneering transformation. If you have one or more “no” answers, then you need to work on flipping them to “yes” before moving ahead.

• • •

As we have seen, the application of artificial intelligence in project management will bring significant benefits, not only in the automation of administrative and low value tasks, but even more important, including AI and other disruptive technologies in your toolbox will in help your organization, its leaders and project managers select, define and implement projects more successfully.

The CEO in our story was once in the position you are in today. We encourage you to take the first steps toward this positive vision of future of project management now.


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Revolutionizing Marketing: The Power of AI in the Digital Age



Embracing AI-Powered Marketing: Transforming Brands in the Digital Marketplace

In the crowded digital marketplace, standing out is challenging. Enter AI-powered marketing, a revolutionary upgrade transforming brands into digital powerhouses.

Hyper-Personalized Campaigns: Beyond Basic Personalization

Gone are the days of generic marketing. Today’s gold standard is AI-driven hyper-personalization. This approach uses customer data analysis to create deeply resonant, individualized marketing campaigns. With AI’s ability to segment audiences based on intricate criteria, including purchasing history and browsing behavior, your messages can hit the mark every time.

Enhanced Customer Journey Mapping

AI’s capabilities extend to mapping the entire customer journey. By predicting needs and preferences at each stage, AI aids in crafting narratives that guide customers from discovery to purchase, integrating your brand into their personal stories.

SEO Wizardry: Mastering Search Engine Dynamics

With ever-changing algorithms, SEO is a complex puzzle. AI serves as a sophisticated navigator, deciphering these changes through machine learning. It aids in keyword optimization, understanding search intent, and aligning content with search trends.

Predictive SEO

AI tools offer predictive SEO, anticipating search engine and user behavior changes. This proactive stance ensures your brand’s prominent visibility in search results, capturing the right audience at the right time.

Social Media Mastery: Crafting a Digital Narrative

AI transforms social media strategies from uncertain to precise. By analyzing vast social data, AI provides insights into resonating content.

Content Optimization

AI analyzes performance data to recommend effective content types. This data-driven approach refines your social media content strategy.

Engagement Analysis

AI examines user interaction nuances, understanding engagement patterns. It helps tailor interactions for maximum impact, including adjusting posting schedules and messaging for increased relevance.

Conclusion: Navigating the AI-Driven Marketing Landscape

AI-powered marketing is essential for thriving in the digital age, offering precision and personalization beyond traditional methods. For small businesses, it’s a chance to leverage AI for impactful, data-driven strategies.

As we embrace the AI revolution, the future of marketing is not just bright but intelligently radiant. With AI as your digital ally, your brand is equipped for a successful journey, making every marketing effort and customer interaction count.

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AI: Your Small Business Ally in a Digital Age



In the ever-evolving landscape of modern commerce, small business owners find themselves at a crossroads of opportunity and obsolescence. Enter Artificial Intelligence (AI) – once the exclusive domain of tech behemoths, it now stands as the great equalizer, offering small businesses a competitive edge previously unthinkable. The emergence of AI as a wingman for small businesses is not just a fleeting trend but a fundamental shift in how entrepreneurs can leverage technology to revolutionize their operations.

The 24/7 Customer Service Hero: Chatbots

In the digital storefront, customer service is the heartbeat of business survival and success. Chatbots emerge as the indefatigable heroes of this domain. Envision a customer service agent that never clocks out an entity that requires no sleep or sustenance yet delivers consistently and instantaneously. These AI-driven chat interfaces embody the essence of your brand’s voice, capable of handling a barrage of customer queries with a speed that outpaces the swiftest of typists. They are the embodiment of efficiency – ensuring that customer satisfaction is not just met but exceeded around the clock.

Unearthing Market Treasures: Data Dive

AI’s prowess in pattern recognition has catapulted data analytics into a realm once considered the stuff of science fiction. Small business owners armed with AI tools can sift through vast swathes of data to extract actionable insights. These algorithms act as modern-day oracles, predicting market trends, discerning customer behaviors, and offering sales forecasts with remarkable accuracy. Equipped with: this knowledge, small businesses, can navigate the market with the foresight and precision of an experienced captain steering through foggy seas.

Personalization at Scale: Customize Like a Boss

The age-old business mantra of the customer is king is given new potency with AI’s personalization capabilities. Tailoring the customer experience is no longer a luxury but a necessity. AI enables small businesses to offer bespoke experiences to consumers, making them feel like the sole focus of their attention. It’s personalization executed with such finesse that customers are left marveling at the thoughtfulness and individual attention, fostering loyalty and establishing deep-rooted brand connections.

Offloading the Mundane: Task Slayers

Repetitive tasks are the bane of creativity and innovation. AI steps in as the ultimate task slayer, automating routine chores that once consumed disproportionate amounts of time. From scheduling appointments to managing inventory, AI liberates entrepreneurs from the drudgery of administrative duties, freeing them to refocus on the creative and strategic endeavors that propel business growth.

Mastering Social Media: Social Savants

Social media – the pulsing vein of modern marketing – demands astuteness and agility. AI emerges as the savant of social media, capable of demystifying platform algorithms to optimize content delivery. It knows the optimal times to post, the types of content that resonate with audiences, and the strategies that convert passive scrollers into engaged customers. By automating your social media presence, AI transforms your brand into an online sensation, cultivating a digital community of brand ambassadors.

The Verdict: Embracing AI

For a small business owner, AI is not about an overnight overhaul but strategic integration. The goal is to start small, allowing AI to shoulder incremental aspects of your business, learning and scaling as you witness tangible benefits. The transition to AI-enablement does not necessitate a background in technology; it requires a willingness to embrace change and a vision for the future.

In summary, as the digital revolution marches forward, AI stands ready to partner with small businesses, providing them with tools once deemed the province of giants. This partnership promises to elevate the small business landscape, ushering in an era of democratized technology where every entrepreneur can harness the power of AI to write their own David vs. Goliath success story. AI, the once-distant dream, is now the most loyal wingman a small business can enlist in its quest for growth and innovation.

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Apple’s October Scary Fast Event: Everything revealed about the new MacBook Pro, iMac and M3 chips



It’s time for another Apple event, with a spooky twist. The company announced a surprise “Scary Fast” event last week, prompting the rumor mill to speculate that Apple would be revealing new chips to power a new lineup of Macs.

As our resident Apple expert Brian Heater wrote, a new 24-inch iMac and a MacBook Pro refresh would be the most likely new announcements to expect from the October event, and as it turns out, he was spot-on. Apple’s new M3 chip lineup was the focal point of the event, powering each of the devices Apple showcased in their half-hour prerecorded event that had some fog, some bats and ominous choir music…but no big surprises for those following the rumor mill.

Since the event kicked off off at the uncharacteristically late time of 8pm ET / 5pm PT, so you might have missed out out on the reveals while putting the finishing touches on your Halloween decorating, or watching Monday Night Football. No judgement, we’re here to recap everything the October Apple event showcased in one spot.

New M3 chips

Credit: Apple

The “scary fast” part of the Apple event, as expected, are the new M3 chips. Apple has announce a M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max, which will be included in Apple’s new 24-inch iMac, MacBook Pros.

This time around, Apple has placed an emphasis on graphical horsepower, with hardware-accelerated ray tracing, mesh shading and Dynamic Caching, which Apple claims “dramatically increases the average utilization of the GPU” by allotting exact amount of local memory to given tasks. These new chips were frequently benchmarked against their M1 predecessor, with Apple claiming the M3 renders at 2.5x the speed of the M1 and its CPU is 30% faster than the M1.

Check out the full rundown of the three M3 chips right here.

New MacBook Pro models

Apple MacBook Pro 2023 Update in Space Black Color

Credit: Apple

Yes, the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros come with upgraded internals, but the first thing you might notice is the new color: Space Black. Beneath that color, you’ll find that new line of M3 chips. The 14-inch MacBook Pro can contain any of the trio, while the 16-inch model will only come with the M3 Pro or M3 Max chips.

As we’ve noted, the M3 chips packed into both models are putting an emphasis on getting the most out of the new GPU, though Apple also boasts that both form factors’ battery can last 22 hours on a single charge.

Both are available for preorder tonight, with the 14-inch MacBook Pro starting at $1,599 and going to $1,999 with the M3 Pro. The baseline 16-inch MacBook Pro goes for $2,499 and the pricing for the M3 Max chip upgrade for both models has yet to be disclosed.

And that space black color is exciting news for any Mac fan still pining for the 2006 MacBook, whose dark tone hadn’t been replicated in the MacBook iterations that followed, even those Midnight MacBook Airs.

Check out the full rundown on the new MacBook Pros here.

New M3 iMac

2023 M3 iMac Spec Rundown

Credit: Apple

Apple’s iMac line is getting a colorful refresh, with an added M3 chip to add horsepower to the palette change. Apple is sticking with the 24-inch form factor, and upgrading the screen with a 4.5K retina display, 1080p FaceTime camera and a six-speaker system supporting Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio. The new iMac will be available for preorder with green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue and silver options starting tonight.

The $1,299 baseline comes with a 8-core GPU and 8-core CPU, with a $1,499 version upgrading you to a 256 SSD.

For more info about what else is new in the M3 iMac, head here.

An sneaky iPhone showcase

You may not have noticed it, but at the very end of the event, Apple dropped a quick note on the stream: “This event was shot on iPhone and edited on Mac.” It’s a bit of a victory lap, but as our other Apple expert Darrell Etherington notes, it’s a pretty impressive flex for Apple to shoot its half-hour hardware showcase entirely on a phone.

Recap the full Scary Fast event

If you want to just dive right in and experience the October event all over again or for the first time, you can catch the entire archive via the YouTube embed below right on Apple’s website.

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