Project Management Institute (PMI) today released its 2019 Pulse of the Profession® In-Depth Report: AI Innovators: Cracking the Code on Project Performance. The report provides an in-depth look at how artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting organizations and the project management profession. Findings reveal that AI disruption is happening and at a large scale: 81 percent of respondents report their organization is being impacted by AI technologies; 37 percent say adopting AI technologies is a high priority for their organization; and project professionals say they expect the proportion of the projects they manage using AI will jump from 23 to 37 percent over the next three years.
These insights from a survey of 551 project management practitioners globally show that the presence of AI technologies will continue to grow, requiring shifts in how projects are managed and how organizations implement strategy. The report identifies six AI technologies that are impacting organizations globally. The three AI technologies currently impacting the greatest number of organizations are:
- Knowledge-based systems: Understands the context of the data being processed, helping support human learning and decision making.
- Machine learning: Analyzes data to build models by detecting patterns, yielding improved decision making with minimal human intervention.
- Decision management: Creates an intelligent process or set of processes based on rules and logic to automate decision making.
Over the next three years, project professionals expect the impact of these AI technologies to grow:
- Expert systems: Emulates and mimics human intelligence, skills or behavior in a particular field, topic or skill.
- Deep learning: Builds, trains and tests neural networks that predict outcomes and/or classify unstructured data based on probabilities.
- Robotic process automation: Mimics and automates human tasks to support corporate processes.
In an recent Pulse of the Profession® report, PMI called for organizations to bolster their Project Management Technology Quotient (PMTQ), which is a way of evaluating an organization’s ability to manage and integrate technology based on the needs of the organization or the project at hand. As organizations increasingly adopt AI technologies, having a strong PMTQ will be essential.
“What this report shows is that the time is now to start thinking about how organizations can leverage AI technologies to achieve project success,” said Michael DePrisco, vice president of global solutions at PMI. “Since project professionals are largely responsible for helping to implement change, they will play a critical role in influencing the adoption of these technologies in their organizations. Based on PMI research, we know that organizations with a high Project Management Technology Quotient (PMTQ) understand that capturing the value of AI will take more than simply rolling out the technology. It will require a new mindset, a learning culture and support from the top to establish an organizational infrastructure that leads to success.”
In fact, research by Accenture finds that most visionary organizations apply five key principles to their AI investments. Called the MELDS principles, they call on organizations to:
- Encourage the right Mindset
- Promote Experimentation
- Support actively involved Leadership
- Incorporate Data into strategy
- Cultivate new Skills
Organizations who embrace these five principles are called AI Innovators and are more likely than organizations that don’t embrace any of the principles (AI Laggards) to establish an organizational infrastructure that leads to project success. According to Pulse® data, there is a distinct payoff for organizations leading the way with AI. AI Innovators outperform AI Laggards on several key project metrics:
- Better on-time delivery: AI Innovators report they delivered 61 percent of their projects on time, versus 47 percent for AI Laggards.
- Superior benefits realization: AI Innovators report 69 percent of their projects realized 95 percent or more of their business benefits, compared to 53 percent of projects for AI Laggards.
- Higher ROI: AI Innovators report 64 percent of their projects met or exceeded their original ROI estimates, versus 52 percent of projects for AI Laggards.
Successful implementation of AI technology requires organizations to shift their priorities. Not only is it important to look at PMTQ as a measure of preparedness, but also how well an organization adheres to the MELDS principles. This will be especially important as more and more AI technologies are integrated into operations in the coming years.
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This Pulse of the Profession® In-Depth research was conducted online in April/May 2019 among 551 project management practitioners globally.