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Improving project delivery on large scale projects with AI

, February 28, 2024

By Benjamin Breen
As projects become more intricate and global, the demand for skilled project professionals who can seamlessly integrate the latest trends, particularly Artificial Intelligence (AI), with robust project management capabilities is on the rise. 
 
AI is not merely a trend, but a transformative force that is redefining project management, writes Benjamin Breen, Global Director Construction and Regional Managing Director, MENA (Interim), Project Management Institute.
 
AI has already been impacting the execution of project work and the role of the project managers for some time now, and this impact will continue to grow.
  
However, only about 20% of project managers report having extensive or good practical experience with AI tools and technologies, and 49% have little to no experience with or understanding of AI in the context of project management, according to an unpublished PMI Customer Experience (CX) survey. This provides evidence that the need for upskilling is urgent. 
 
During my keynote speech at the Big 5 Construct Saudi on Wednesday, February 28th in Riyadh, I highlighted the skills project professionals need to work with AI:
 
To thrive in an AI-enabled environment, project professionals must develop and hone capabilities that support and complement the things that AI can do. The PMI Talent Triangle can help with its focus on ways of working, power skills and business acumen. 
 
AI enables ways of working that can empower teams to improve efficiency and organize data. Whether it’s predictive, agile, design thinking or new practices still to be developed, it's clear that there is more than one way that work is accomplished today. That’s why PMI encourages project professionals to become fluent in as many ways of working as they can so they can apply the right technique at the right time, delivering winning results. 
 
Generative AI such as PMI Infinity and PMI Data Landscape on AI for project managers is also helping us with this shift, as some of the typical project management tasks such as project planning, time and cost management, risk management, write and reading assistance can now be automated or assisted by AI, giving project managers improved results and more space to focus on their people.
 
Strong business acumen can ensure efforts align with broader organizational strategy. Power skills, such as communication, problem-solving and collaborative leadership, can help project managers harness and maximize the potential of AI to improve results.
 
The role of project managers is thus evolving from assigning tasks and checking status to collaboration and co-creation. From drafting plans, documents, communications to inspiring action and performance. From building fact base for decision making to helping stakeholders understand the impact of decisions and from building dashboards to strategic thinking.
 
PMI’s purpose is to empower project professionals to maximize project success and help elevate our world. This is why we have created PMI’s AI Resource Center to help project managers navigate the future of AI-driven project management with confidence to ensure successful project delivery in the ever-changing landscape of our modern world. 
 
Large scale Construction Project: Unraveling Failures and Solutions
Back in 1995, I was involved in one of the first design & build projects in Singapore. The project involved building over 2,000 apartments, and was run by fax, pager and of course, people.  Fast forward 20 years and I was privileged to work on the $5billion Marina Bay Sands project, involving up to 25,000 workers. 
 
Technology had evolved to include on-line collaborative software such as Aconex, integrated BIM platforms and advanced safety techniques. And today, we have incredible technologies such as Microsoft HoloLens which allows you to work remotely and guide others through complex problems and machines that lay roads in one go with minimal labour.
 
This only demonstrates how we must keep adapting to new technologies and be adaptable to change to overcome the challenges the construction industry still faces today. Our research shows that for every $1 billion spent on construction projects, $127 million is wasted. 72% of construction project experience project delays always or often, 73% end over budget, and 70% experience scope creep always or often. 
 
By identifying the industry’s pain points, we have developed PMI Construction Professional (PMI-CP)  certification with the world leading industry experts to address these pain points and help organisations improve the efficiency, profitability, and sustainability of their projects. 
 
Communications
From all our research, communication is the number one issue faced on construction projects when dealing with multiple stakeholders, numerous meetings every day, multiple changes by the clients and equipment delivery delays. To avoid such issues, it is important to learn active listening, develop a communication strategy and plan, and develop formal communication - governance and project structures. It is also vital to increase stakeholder buy-in early on and influence without authority and facilitate OBEYA sessions to foster a more collaborative way of working with lean methodologies. 
 
Performance and Materials Management
It is therefore important to know how to plan end-to-end material management process through project lifecycle and understand tools and techniques to foster open cultures to identify early problem identification and resolution. It is also crucial to understand new materials that provide benefits to the project/environment. 
 
Technology and Innovation
Without accurate data, technology solutions are useless. Aconex, by Oracle for instance, is a web-based collaboration portal which provides a single source of truth for all documents. However, specific people had to be hired to manage the workloads. Primavera and BIM were compulsory for the project. Primavera became critical in demonstrating that changes to the project caused delays. BIM helped to ensure that all packages were seamlessly integrated. Other innovations include flat pack marble, 4D BIM can be used to add time-related information and droned for site inspections. Therefore, it is important to know why innovation matters and where to introduce it and recognise the benefits that advancements in technology will bring to the industry.  Moreover, it is key to understand technology implementation and adoption strategies, and what the barriers that construction companies face when implementing IT solutions.
 
Contract and Risk Management
It is crucial to understand the Risk Management Framework and how the process works, and understand different delivery methods, strategies, and contract structures used in the industry. It is important to know the common causes of claims, and the methods and strategies used to reduce claims and disputes and what are the different dispute resolution techniques and how a standardized claims process works.
 
PMI is the leading authority in project management, committed to advancing the project management profession to positively impact project success. It empowers professionals to excel in project management practices through our growing global community, knowledge sharing, and best-in-class certifications—driving positive change in organizations and communities.  - TradeArabia News Service
 



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