Generative AI: You Have To Apply It To “Get” It

Given many companies are now leveraging Generative AI and adoption will only increase, project professionals can – and should – be leveraging it in their own projects. But many professionals don’t have the practical know-how when it comes to AI. In this post, Dave Garrett discusses how PMI’s new e-learning course can help project professionals looking to master AI.

Written by Dave Garrett • 24 Oct 2023

Artificial Intelligence

Being a project professional has always been about asking the right questions. Generative AI – or GenAI, a form of artificial intelligence capable of generating text, images, or other media, using generative models – doubles down on “artful inquiry” and has the potential to reshape project work in general.

Yet, according to recent PMI research, only about 20% of project professionals report having extensive or good practical experience with AI, and 49% have little or no experience with or understanding of any form of AI in the context of project management.

Although some are hesitant to adopt AI, there is growing interest in learning about this technology and applying it in our professional lives. Recently, for example, PMI launched its very own e-learning course, “Generative AI Overview for Project Managers.” And after just 26 days in market, the course has been accessed by more than 50,000 people – a faster adoption rate than any short course in PMI’s history. Offered for free and co-developed with members of our global community, the course imparts useful knowledge that will be immediately beneficial to most project professionals. Overall satisfaction with the course has been over 94%.

Those passing the knowledge check at the end of the PMI course are also awarded a badge that shows they are at the leading edge of learning about AI in project management. It can also make project professionals more marketable. According to a recent LinkedIn analysis across 25 countries, the pace at which LinkedIn members added AI skills to their profiles nearly doubled since the launch of ChatGPT last year, from 7.7% to 13%.

Now let’s look at the content of the new PMI course itself. The course is designed to help you understand the need for GenAI and to apply it to specific tasks you tackle every day.

Being “AI-conversant” is imperative in today’s world of work

The first half of the course grounds you in the technology itself and helps you speak the language of AI so you can describe what matters when applying GenAI in a project context and why you should act quickly. To dive deeper:

  • Introduction to GenAI: Provides an understanding of what GenAI is, the value it brings to different types of work, and how it applies to project work specifically. This will help you understand how to think about the technology, how it can help a project, and what to be mindful of in terms of security and ethics.
  • Solving problems with GenAI: Through depictions of classic PM challenges, each representing a side of the PMI Talent Triangle, this module provides examples of shared struggles that GenAI can directly address.
  • Voice of the PM: Project professionals from our community talk about how they use GenAI, how it changes the focus and nature of the work, and why all project professionals must consider adopting the technology. The peer-led examples offer real-life scenarios that resonate with users and aim to make you want to dive in.

Credibility and trust are grounded in proof and a record of results

You’ve probably heard the expression: “AI will not take your job, but someone who knows AI might.” Perhaps it should read, “someone who does a better job of applying AI might.” The second half of the PMI course therefore takes an applied approach to learning. The modules offered here will be directly applicable to work you’re engaged in today. The approach is practical, not academic – and you can use each template and tool on actual projects to see how the technology can help. 

ChatGPT Lab, for example, offers sample prompts that address several common project management tasks like creating a project charter, identifying a critical path, or creating a persuasive business case. The prompting guide included in the course allows you to easily cut and paste each prompt example into a GenAI tool like ChatGPT to get a sense of the power of the tool in under a minute.

PMI Generative AI Course ChatGPT Lab

You will want to make these tools your own. Applying these prompts to your work will accelerate your learning and help you do your job. Simply tailoring each prompt to the specifics of a project today will provide draft documentation instantly that might have taken hours to produce initially.  

This module also invites you to try other GenAI variants such as Bard and Claude to see how results vary from one to the next. Reusing the same prompts in each tool means you will have multiple versions of your draft documents to draw from as you refine the work. How often would that have happened prior to GenAI? How might this affect the quality of the final deliverable?

AI Tool library offers specialized GenAI tools in areas that project professionals care about most like planning, time and cost management, and risk management. You may want to draw a diagram or timeline related to your project and compile an initial list of risks – complete with impact and likelihood for your project. Again, the more you can apply these tools to your project, the more meaningful your learning experience will be.

PMI Generative AI Course ChatGPT Lab

Taking users on a path of personal exploration

While the new PMI course aims to demonstrate how GenAI can benefit project professionals, we also hope it will encourage and inspire you to experiment with these tools, helping to make life a little easier while also improving the quality of your work.

Overall, we believe GenAI will help us all improve project success rates, not just through improved access to information, productivity improvements, and quality checks – but also by allowing project professionals to focus more on the human interactions that increase their value as a true business partner.

We are always looking for feedback on our products. If you have taken the course, please share your thoughts by using the survey link at the end of the course. This is the first course in a series of learning experiences focused on AI in project management. We hope you find the course valuable – and keep an eye out for more!

Dave Garrett headshot

Dave Garrett
Senior Advisor to the CEO | PMI

As Senior Advisor to the CEO, Dave Garrett advises and supports decision-making regarding the execution of the PMI strategy to create a clear growth path and increase the value delivered to our customers. He advises PMI leadership and our teams, ensuring seamless alignment and integration across the organization. Dave has previously held senior leadership roles at PMI including Chief Strategy & Growth Office; Vice President, Corporate Development & Innovation; and Vice President, Transformation.

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