The precise future of project management is unknowable, but we can make a pretty solid presumption that quite a lot of what project managers do on a daily basis now will be radically changed by technology moving forward. Automation is one of the biggest of these elements of change, with the potential to thoroughly shake up the world of project management, though it is viewed with suspicion by many who see it as a direct challenge to their jobs.
However, rather than being seen as a threat, automation should be embraced. Why? Well, because automation will allow PMs to take a lot of mundane, repetitive work off their plates, the clerical heavy lifting of the role, and instead focus on what makes them unique. These project management soft skills, like team-building, decision-making and motivation, are where project managers can really deliver value.
How Automation Will Fit in With Project Management
Improving Project Estimation
One of the biggest changes that AI and automation have made to the tech world has been the ability and accuracy of algorithmic estimations based on continuous data flow. From stock trading to airline ticket pricing to the NFL draft, automated algorithms are giving people an unparalleled insight into what’s likely to happen in the future, and the future of project management will go the same way.
Business intelligence firms like Oracle and SAP can already tell you exactly what is happening in your business but in the not so distant future, every project management decision you make could be plugged into refined algorithms to automatically give you an idea of how different choices will play out, immensely helping project managers with day-to-day tasks such as which vendors to choose or which project management software to go with.
Integrating Data Analysis to Understand Work Patterns
As well as being able to accurately weigh up the pros and cons of different project management decisions, automation could also help PMs to find what works best for the team and individual resources. While maybe veering slightly closer to Orwell’s 1984 than some might find comfortable, the amount of data collected on how people in an organization work best could be used as an excellent support for one of the most important project management soft skills, people management.
For example, if certain employees thrive under pressure, this can be automatically flagged up, so PMs know they can be trusted in a tough situation or if others are excellent at bridging skills gaps in multi-role collaborations, that would also be extremely useful for Agile teams. Understanding how employees work best is a key role for project managers and automation can help them in that in many ways.
Helping Businesses to Scale Processes
A major problem most businesses have is scaling the successes of one team to a whole department or organization. That’s because the individual factors at play in a team’s dynamics can be tough to replicate over and over again. With automation, however, PMs will have a greater chance of success when being asked to scale work processes.
That’s because, as mentioned before, with repetitive tasks (such as report writing and project status updating) offloaded to automated bots, PMs can get down to focusing on the aspects of processes that make a difference. Through improved analysis and understanding of why something works somewhere else, PMs will be able to implement the same processes, in the same way, across the board.