Will project managers soon be replaced by AI?

In an article on IT-Business.de, Sarah Gandorfer addressed a question that is on the minds of many people in a wide range of industries: Will we all soon be replaced by robots and artificial intelligence? In some areas, it seems a bit more likely at the moment that AI will soon be used a lot more and probably take over a wide range of tasks. But will project managers actually be among them? And what will the change look like? Which tasks can AI take on and which require explicit human skills? The debate has been going on for decades and is becoming more concrete, which is why Gandorfer's article has attracted so much interest. We summarize it for you below.
Head of a woman with symbols representing the digital world next to her face.

Ubiquitous digital transformation

Researchers at Gartner conducted a study and made predictions for the year 2030. They came to the conclusion that by then, probably 80 percent of the tasks that are still performed by project managers today can already be carried out by artificial intelligence. Of course, this will not mean that there will be no more project managers in ten years. Quite the contrary. However, it does mean in any case - regardless of whether the 80% figure is realistic or whether it is only 40% or 60% after all - that the job description of the project manager will continue to change - even more strongly and rapidly than before in the next ten years. It is not possible to predict exactly which path the digital transformation will take. But it is already certain that it will take place and that there will be countless opportunities and possibilities. After all, the transformation in society and business has long been in full swing. Just think about how project managers worked ten years ago and how they work today. You can expect the pace of change to accelerate in the future.

Project management in transition

Project managers have always gathered information, analyzed it, and then used the results to bring a project to a successful conclusion. This has always been the case and, for many, it is an activity that cannot be done without because it makes up a mammoth portion of the project manager's work. However, according to research and consulting firm Gartner and its analysts, it is this core area of PM that is expected to change in the coming years due to the influence of AI. Software is likely to take a significant share of information gathering and data collection in the future. Even analyzing and creating reports is already partly done by software. Gartner forecasts that in as little as three to four years, the focus of information technology companies will be on developing and selling digital platforms, AI and virtual reality. All of this, according to Gartner, will mean that project managers will have completely different, better, more powerful and more comprehensive programs at their disposal, and that this will completely transform the way they work. The main advantage is that AI can simply comb through and analyze information much faster. So AI may soon be helping companies achieve their goals. The vice president of research at Gartner is convinced it will. But he also knows that project managers and executives don't currently have the tools they need to do so. He even says that most companies are not yet sufficiently prepared for the digital age or do not yet have the appropriate equipment.

Project managers with other tasks

While most forecasts assume that project management will change to a large extent and possibly indeed up to 80% of the tasks of a project manager will be taken over by artificial intelligence, it is nevertheless clear that project managers will continue to exist. Of course, they won't all be out of a job, nor will 80% or 50% of them. Basically, the project managers of this world can look forward to artificial intelligence taking over many tasks from them in the future. These will be the tasks that are time-consuming and boring. Exactly these kinds of tasks can be taken over by a computer or software. So the tedious and often tedious process of gathering data, comparing it and analyzing it, can soon be offloaded to the software. At the same time, at some point, the software will generate something that agile project teams can work with. Thanks to AI, agile teams will know more quickly in the future what their next steps will be. There will be more time for the actual creative tasks and the actual decisions, which will be made by humans on the basis of machine analyses, while Big Data will be taken over by a machine.

The new role of project managers

As a project manager, you will face enormous change over the next ten years. The job description as well as the role model of the project manager will change fundamentally. Carola Moresche describes the phenomenon in a blog article on the web platform "Project Management, Productivity, Leadership" in such a way that in the not too distant future AI will make completely emotion-free analyses and decisions. The "new project manager" will be creative, able to resolve conflicts and focus on identifying innovation potential as well as making the innovations based on it possible. At least that is how Carola Moresche sees it. Project managers are already doing this. But in the future, this will be their main area of responsibility.

No fear of the future

Christian Kaupa points out a very important point in an article, namely that AI, of course, also needs its project managers in order to function. So those who are afraid that AI will take away all their tasks should remember that AI, of course, cannot work alone. Kaupa is vice president of insight and data at Capgemini and knows all too well that the project managers surrounding him already have to coordinate the work and interaction of AI and AI experts. He emphasizes the importance of this coordination, also in light of the fact that AI is used especially in complex projects, which are usually agile.
Author: IAPM internal

Key words: Project Management, Artificial Intelligence, Future

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