Project management is a complex and dynamic field that requires a combination of skills, knowledge, tools, and techniques to achieve specific goals. Project managers face many challenges, such as managing multiple stakeholders, balancing competing demands, dealing with uncertainties, and delivering quality results within time and budget constraints.

However, project management is also undergoing a major transformation, thanks to the emergence and advancement of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, such as learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making. AI can perform tasks that are usually done by humans, such as data analysis, pattern recognition, natural language processing, and image processing.

AI has the potential to revolutionize project management in many ways, bringing significant improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and innovation. In this blog post, we will explore some of the use cases and benefits of AI for project management, as well as some of the challenges and limitations that need to be addressed.

Use Cases of AI for Project Management

AI can be applied to various aspects of project management, such as planning, execution, monitoring, and control. Here are some examples of how AI can help project managers with their tasks:

Project Planning: AI can assist project managers with the creation of detailed schedules and comprehensive risk logs, based on historical data and best practices. AI can also predict outcomes, optimize resource allocation, and suggest alternatives for different scenarios1.

Project Execution: AI can automate certain tasks that are repetitive or tedious, such as maintaining registers and logs, preparing meeting agendas and minutes, sending reminders and notifications2. AI can also enhance communication and collaboration among project team members and stakeholders, using natural language processing and chatbots.

Project Monitoring and Control: AI can monitor project progress and performance in real-time, using data from various sources and sensors. AI can also provide timely feedback and alerts, identify issues and risks, and recommend corrective actions3. AI can also generate reports and dashboards that provide insights and visualizations for project managers and stakeholders.

Benefits of AI for Project Management

AI can bring many benefits for project management, such as:

Improved Quality: AI can reduce errors and improve accuracy in project planning and execution. AI can also ensure compliance with standards and regulations4.

Increased Efficiency: AI can save time and cost by automating tasks and optimizing processes. AI can also increase productivity and agility by enabling faster decision-making and adaptation4.

Enhanced Innovation: AI can foster creativity and innovation by providing new ideas and solutions for complex problems. AI can also enable continuous learning and improvement by capturing feedback and lessons learned4.

Challenges and Limitations of AI for Project Management

AI is not without its challenges and limitations for project management. Some of the issues that need to be considered are:

Data Quality: AI relies on large amounts of data to learn and perform tasks. However, data quality is often a challenge in project management, as data may be incomplete, inconsistent, or inaccurate. Therefore, data cleaning and validation are essential steps before applying AI to project management2.

Ethics and Trust: AI raises ethical and trust issues in project management, such as privacy, security, accountability, transparency, bias, and fairness. Therefore, ethical principles and guidelines are needed to ensure that AI is used responsibly and appropriately in project management2.

Human Factor: AI cannot replace human judgment and intuition in project management. Project managers still need to have the skills and experience to manage people, relationships, emotions, values, culture, ethics2. Therefore, human-AI collaboration is the key to achieving the best results in project management.


AI is changing the future of project management by providing new capabilities and opportunities for improving quality, efficiency, and innovation. However, AI also poses some challenges and limitations that need to be addressed with care. Project managers need to embrace AI as a powerful tool that can complement their skills and expertise but not substitute them. By doing so, they can leverage the full potential of AI for project management success.

When IT is a Service function

I’ve been very quiet for the last year as I have been working at 3 different clients who were all undertaking significant pieces of work in the heavily regulated utility sector. One was vertical and the other two were in the water sector.

One thing that these organisations all have in common is that they view the provision of delivery of IT as a service function and as a result, they all have “Strategic Partnerships” with external firms mainly based offshore. Unlike other sectors who seem to keep some functions in-house, these have gone the whole hog and handed it all over.

Service Function or intellectual Property

Whilst this has a very good effect on the bottom line, in terms of costs, and understanding what you will need to spend on your IT, it does leave you exposed in terms of intellectual property. The whole logic behind partnering is for the provider to offer the commodity skills that the organisation deems as not a core competency. This may have been a good approach in the past but now that IT is so fundamental to an organisation it is now actually intellectual property.

One of the major side effects of this “promotion” of IT to be central to the business is that if you come to try and change your “partner” it becomes a very high risk and fraught with danger which could, in fact, lead to business damage both financially and reputationally.

I have worked in organisations that have been crippled by this type of transition and it has taken months for them to get anywhere near to business as usual.

Another observation I can make is that without the level of investment in IT you can become very old fashioned and behind your competitors very quickly. This would help explain the amount of “disruption” that many traditional industries are encountering in recent years.

I am convinced that there needs to be a complete mindset change within senior IT management roles to ensure that they become thought and business leaders and not seen as a subordinate service provider.

The interesting Paradox is that a lot of the “Strategic” partnership organisations should be the ones that take the lead and help the legacy organisation change and drive IT forward, however, this potentially means cannibalising their current revenue streams they receive from supporting the old way.

I have been in the industry now for over 30 years and am still excited about what IT (Technology) can do for businesses. In the 80’s and 90’s we radicalised things with ERP systems. In the 2000’s it was the rise of the Internet. In the 20-teens it’s been the rise of the App and big data. If the old way of thinking maintains then a lot of the organisation that exist today will not be around in the next decade due to looking at technology as a service function.


IP or commodity skill?


IP or commodity skill?

One of the trends that started at the end of the 20th Century and gathered pace in the 21st is the move to outsource certain parts of IT in the business to low costs providers.

This seemed a great idea at first as you could reduce, or fix your costs, for the more commodity skills. These included the provisioning of machines and desktop support of operating systems.

This also took its place in running data centres where support for standard machines and OS’s was seen as an off the shelf skill.

As the pace to outsource gathered more and more tasks were deemed to be commodity skills and candidates to outsource. Resources with many years’ experience if the various tools and there usage in the organisation were let go and replaced by these type of deals.

This is where the problems started to arise. Many of the skills that were chosen appeared to be a commodity skill but management failed to realise that once you deviated from the standard usage of the product you were in fact moving into the realms of intellectual property.

Take for instance support for ERP systems like SAP or Oracle amongst others. These are deemed to be fairly standard applications that you can churn skills out of training camps in a standard manner and then get them supporting business.

However we all know this isn’t true it isn’t what they are using that is important it’s the how they are using it that really matters. Company A and B both may have inventory and financials but the chances are they use the same package in totally different ways and on top of that the chances are they have both modified the core system in different ways.

So the concept of being able to get resources at the turn of a tap becomes increasingly more difficult because they also need to have knowledge specific to the particular company they are working for.

One of the major trends currently in business is the concept of nurturing your talent and the fact that those business that develop their talent will be the winners in the future so decision makers need to be very certain that anything they consider for outsourcing in the future is a real “commodity skill” to avoid losing all their Intellectual property.

As we move more and more toward the future and the true knowledge economy of high skill; high paid employment the distinction between the two will be more important than ever.


Is the IT Department being left behind in the 21st Century?

I was sparked into writing this article this morning after hearing an expression I thought we had moved away from. I overheard a couple of Senior IT guys at my client talk about “end user computing”.

This is an expression I haven’t heard since the 90’s or even the early 2000’s but with all the changes with devices and technology over last 10-15 years is it still a relevant concept?

This got me thinking about IT departments and the 21st Century. Has the march of technology overtaken the ability for the IT department to react and deliver technology solutions? Has the advent of digital given the business the opportunity to cut the IT department out of the equation and if they have what does the IT department need to do to reclaim the “technological authority”?

In the 80’s and 90’s we implemented massive organisation and productivity changing systems that impacted an entire organisation (without email and mobile phones in a lot of cases). Many of these system still exist with organisations and are deemed “heritage” or “legacy”. These needed a massive cohort to implement and then to support and this formed the bases of the IT department.

Large frameworks for the “management” of these projects and systems were developed and a governance structure put around the, ITIL; Prince 2 are two of the most popular. This led to longer delivery times and an administrative burden.

In parallel to these changes going on in the consumer space new technology was being introduced. Smart Phones, Netbooks, Tablets, Smart TV’s to name but a few. The internet that had ballooned during the late 90’s, and crashed, suddenly became mainstream and, as I predicted in the late 90’s the 4th utility.

All the while whilst this was going on the IT departments continued to get bigger and apply more and more frameworks and overheads along with outsourcing, what it saw as commodity skills which, were in fact, intellectual property (this will be the subject of a future article). What this meant was that to even have an idea to change a small bit of technology cost you thousands before you started.

It also led to the rise of the “shadow IT department” where end user departments were hiring, developing and supporting their own solutions.

Then we entered the digital economy. The rise of smartphones; tablets; ubiquitous internet via mobile phones and WiFi caused a perfect Nexus. Everything had to be digital. Again the IT department tried to impose a lot of the legacy disciplines onto the business which was rejected and as a result a new part of the business was created and called “digital” which meant the Technology Skilled staff worked alongside the business people as one to deliver what the business wanted.

Now we are deep into the new world. We have IT people looking after “heritage” and “Lagacy” systems and the Digital teams looking after the social media and digital world. Where does this leave the traditional IT department? My answer is well behind the curve.

People existing in the old world need to upskill and understand where the world has moved on to. Certain ideas and understandings need to be challenged and refreshed.

In conclusion there is no such thing now as “end user computing” everything is.

Managers versus leaders

businessmen-152572_640Managers versus Leaders

One of the disturbing developments I have noticed in a career stretching over 30 years in length is the rise of the manager and the demise of the leader.

Back in the 90’s when everybody was talking about “the new economy” businesses removed layers within organisations and “empowered” people to get on with it and make decisions. This enabled businesses to make major productivity gains and with the advent of the Enterprise Resource Planning systems businesses became quicker and more efficient.

Being a project manager you role was to keep the team motived and drive the timelines whilst making it fun! We didn’t have mobile phones or emails it was down to energy and strength or personality and charisma that made things happen.

Then something happened. I don’t know what it was but suddenly there were managers everywhere. Process and people were managed. Countries were managed by their politicians there was more emphasis on measuring everything; KPI’s; Scorecards; targets all leading to people managing their processes and business in such a way as to meet the measures not what was good for the business.

I think this trend has led to the phenomenon where managers are being paid massive bonuses and have no risk associated with the remunerations. It has also led to a lot of the scandals we see in the banks and other organisations.

This trend has to stop. We need leaders to be back in the forefront of business and driving the growth that the economies need.

My gut feel is that the true leaders will make a resurgence in business. The tools available now in terms of social media and collaboration and the “sharing” economy means that the managers have nothing to hide behind anymore.
Hopefully this will lead to innovation and risk taking and not just managing what currently exists.

I for one believe that the leaders ate the most important management resources we need in the 21st century world of business.


My last time two articles had been about the different types of project managers that you find within organisations and the different focus they have on projects. The “battery pm’s” focus on the process around a project, the “free rangers” are more focused on the content of a project.

Both areas are key the success of a project but one will deliver a successful project, the other will produce a great set of governance documentation.

The content is the most important part of a project and in order to understand what is required to deliver the project you need to have an understanding of the content and the context. This is obtained by talking to your sponsors, peers and any others you identify that gave the business and business impact understanding.

The content is the most important part of a project and in order to understand what is required to deliver the project you need to have an understanding of the content and the context. This is obtained by talking to your sponsors, peers and any others you identify that gave the business and business impact understanding. If you don’t understand the content and the understanding you are really only undertaking an academic exercise.

A great technique for getting the business understanding is the use the “new boy “pretence and ask the “dumb question “ of those with the knowledge. Most people are willing to help you and bring you up to speed as they understand the greater good and what the project is trying to deliver.

I remember delivering a project on time and to budget that ended up delivering over £3 million above the benefits case, yet because I had not produced on time a couple of governance items the project was deemed a non-successful project from an IT department perspective but from the business/customer standpoint one of their most successful projects of the year.

In summary both process and content are important and should be given focus, but in order to deliver you should focus on the content first and then the process.

freeRangeFree Range Project Managers

I recently wrote an article about the rise of the “battery project manager”. I thought it was time that I presented the alternative view. These I am calling the “free range project manager”.

These project managers tend to have a focus on the people involved in a project and less on the process of project management. Whilst they appreciate the need for process they see them more as “guidelines” and not “rules”.

It’s all about content

They are more inclined to talk to people in the flesh as opposed to getting the headset on and having a conference call. They understand the importance of non-verbal communication and have empathy to team members.

To them a project is not an academic exercise; it has real content where the business is a real customer. Their goal is to “delight” the customer and exceed their expectations. They work the hours they need to in order to get things done and not just the hors they have to.

They are risk takers, but not risk at any cost, they assess the risk and make an informed decision. If it goes against them they put their hands up and admit any mistakes. They stand behind their team and help then wherever they can.

They adjust to the requirements of the organisation they work in but never compromise their beliefs. Where possible they help those with less experience than themselves and like to pass their experiences on.

Every department should have a few of these project managers.

battery project managersBattery Project Managers

As an independent Project/Programme Management consultant who works with some of the largest corporates in the world I get to see the current acceptable practices in operation. An alarming trend I have spotted for some time is the rise of the “Battery Project Manager”.

The Battery project Managers sit in clusters with other Battery Project Mangers and manage their project from afar as an academic exercise. There I no interaction with the business and no understanding of what the actual project is trying to achieve.

Its all about the process

They follow process without regard to what it is they are doing. They use so called “enterprise tools” to report up and enact the latest edict without challenge.

 Issues and risks go into logs and are tracked mechanically and updated when requested. Status reports are completed on time as dictated by the PMO (The Programme Management Office).

There is no real distinction between a PMO analysts and a Battery Project Manager, in its worst manifestation Project Managers are subordinate to the analyst.

As you can tell from the article I am not overly impressed with what I see with this trend. Project management is a people game and requires interactions with others to be successful.

Its people that make projects a success not the process. Anyone can blindly follow a process but the real magic happens when you start questioning why things are done in a certain way.

Project Failures?

I am convinced that this trend is the reason why we see examples in the news of “glitches” with Bank systems or mobile phone systems not been available for hours. People who bear the scars of projects over the years know where the pitfalls are and where to look for likely problems.

If you haven’t been at the coalface it’s difficult to see what may happen.

I personally believe that the Project Management profession is at a crossroads between the entrepreneurial (free range) Project Managers and the Battery Project Managers.

I know if it was my business what I would want is to have project managers who focused on the content and not the process.


Sony T13 laptop

Sony T13 laptop

I  am a Switcher

Over the years there has been a great deal written about “switchers“. These are people wh have used PC’s for years who decide to move over to  Apple. I was one of these for the last few years. It was probably about the time of  Windows Vista that I decided to change. I had stuck to Apple though the early days of Windows 7 and watched with interest what was happening with Windows 8.

As you will have read from me earlier article (here) I started playing around with Windows 8 (on the Mac using Parallel’s) and liked what I found. It seemed very stable and once you got use to the Metro interface it becomes very slick. It was around this time that I realised I need to update my MacBook.

 Switcher to Apple

I purchased the MacBook back in 2007 and it has been a really effective tool and served me well. However I was getting to the point where certain applications could not be installed on it due to the chip used. This was really a pain and got me thinking that this wasn’t the first time I had been “let down” by the hardware used by Apple. The same thing happened with my old G5 desktop. I wont get too much into what I think about the Apple eco-system and how they treat their consumers, thats for another article, another day.

Anyway back to the thrust of this article. I decided to look around and initially did the Mac Versus PC comparison.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the latest MacBooks and the Air models to me seem to be designed for the “trendy” user.

A Switcher and Proud

I then looked into the idea of a touch screen Windows 8 machine. Looking at the market I went and tried some and have to say I loved the way they worked. It somehow feels natural to go between the keyboard and the screen and having major controls on the left and right of the screen works really well.

Whilst there has been a lot of criticism around the Metro interface I have to admit I like it. It is very straightforward and easy to use and very slick. I have now had my new laptop (Sony VAIO T13 Silver) for around a month and I have to say I am delighted by its performance and feel provided by Windows 8.

Another key observation to make here is if you can try the new Office 2013 as well, this is a real improvement on the old Office versions and it just feels that this is the best version yet. The interface is slick and very pleasing and the way the cursor moves and looks is very different.

Apple really needs to think about what it does next as Microsoft seems to have got it right with the latest version of Windows. If the hardware manufacturers get their act together there could be some really good hardware on offer over the next few years.

So there you go I am a switcher and proud of it – but not in the way you would expect!!


Windows 8

Windows 8 LogoWindows 8 – Worth the wait.

I have spent the last few days playing about with Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system and I have to say my initial thoughts are this is really good. Looking at early reports and release candidates of windows 8 there was a lot of reaction to the new Metro interface and the fact that it looked a bit clunky. Well imagine  my surprise that even after a couple of hours I found it to be intuitive and easy to use.

The whole idea of windows 8 is to have everything you need at your finger tips and to tailor it to the way you work.

The new look and feel of the various wrappers to applications is far smoother than previous incarnations and is very pleasing to the eye. You will notice the lack of a start button but that is early remedied by bringing down various add-ons that are available. The one I have tended to use is classic shell which can be found here.

Windows 8 Tips – Corners

As this is very early days with using windows 8 I thought I would let you have a some tips that I have discovered that are really useful. The first one is to remember how important the corners of the screen are for you now. As the devices I have used so far are traditional laptops and desktops they do not have the “touch features” that will arrive with other devices. However dragging your mouse into the corners of the screen brings up side panels that you can then use.

Windows 8 Tips – Right Click on Start Screen

This is a really powerful tip. If you right click when you are on the start screen and select all apps it basically gives you access to all the settings for your machine. Here you can access the command line as well as others. If you select an item on the screen and right click on that you are then given even more options including being able to run things as administrator.

Windows 8 – Being able to go back to clean machine.

One tip I have found really usefull is the ability to take an image of your machine that you can use to take your machine back to its original state in case you have a major issue. This can be acheived by:

Go to the start screen and right click. Once you have done this select All apps, this will bring up the various options you have on your machine. Have a look and find Command Prompt, right click on that and select run as administrator. When you are in the prompt then enter the following

mkdir C:\RefreshImage
recimg -CreateImage C:\RefreshImage

This will take some time to create the image but it will be worth it as you now have an image to revert back to if you run into problems with your machine and need to take it back to it’s original settings.

Well finally so far so good. I intend playing around more over the next few weeks and will update more as I learn more.