On this episode of Helping Sells Radio, Stratejos Founder and CEO Scott Middleton talks to us about how artificial intelligence (AI) is already changing project management. Chat bots are so smart, they can understand project performance and even tell who the highest performing people on the project team are.
Bots as a coach
Here is the challenge: to get a project team to perform well, a manager must get the team to follow the discipline of the project process, understand what's going on with the project, and coach team members as needed. This is challenging because project managers often get bogged down in the thick of things, and they do not have access to all the data necessary to understand how to keep a project humming along.
Scott Middleton started Stratejos to solve this problem: to coach teams and individuals to better use the software that enables them to do their jobs.
"What's exciting about AI and bots and software to deal with this problem is that you can get specific and meaningful advice...that's relevant at the right time," says Middleton.
Here are just a few examples of ways AI and bots can help coach a team:
- You have not filled out your time sheet
- You did not estimate this task
- You are at risk of running over on your sprint
- Why you are constantly running over on your sprints
- Who on my team needs help
- What are the risks to this sprint
AI is going to change project management
Says Middleton, "AI is going to change project management....almost full stop. It's coming, and it's really starting to happen."
Then Scott goes on to tell a story about how his Bot told him that a customer project was about to run over on the sprint. Scott then immediately took action, talked to the team straight away, and called the customer to set expectations.
We asked Scott, "How does a bot know to tell you your sprint is at risk?" Scott responded, "How does a person know to tell you that?" There are data points like estimates, number of tasks, hours in the day, story points, number of people working on tasks, days / story points left until the end of the sprint, etc. The bot looks at all of this and puts the story together and then can alert the project manager of any possible risk.
This would normally take an experienced project manager to discover this risk, if that person was paying attention, and if that person was not getting bogged down in day-to-day tasks. It would also take team members to proactively raise the red flag to say they were behind...which as many of us know....people are not so willing to do.
So, as Middleton describes, "It's really starting to happen."
Here is Scott's article on the Atlassian Blog: 3 Ways AI will change project management for the better
How are people receiving this?
Middleton describes two kinds of people. First is the person who gets exited about the technology. The flashy part. AI and bots, etc. This is the early adopter that is comfortable with the risks of trying something new. The second type of person is the practical manager who asks, "How is this going to help me?" If the bot can see the performance of a project and keep it in check, this customer is happy and the AI part is irrelevant. It's just a tool.
A bot can understand key project performance? Really?
Middleton answers this question with a customer story:
Customer: "Why is this bot telling me to update my time sheet every day?'
Middleton: "It's probably telling you something you should be doing."
Perhaps this is why most people are not ready for a bot.
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