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How Artificial Intelligence will disrupt Project Management and change the role of Project Managers

We are living in a time when global megatrends are actively reshaping our world at a rapid pace. These large-scale macroeconomic and geostrategic forces – which we define as changes in ‘demographics’, the ‘shift in global power’, ‘urbanisation’, ‘climate change’ and ‘technological breakthroughs’ – are raising both profound challenges and opportunities for governments and business alike. In particular, ‘technological breakthroughs’, and the impact of advances such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), will have a huge impact on the future of the workforce, including the role of the project manager.

PwC’s recent analysis of OECD data covering 200,000 jobs in 29 countries1 breaks AI’s job-displacement effect into three waves: algorithmic (until the early 2020s), augmentation (to the late 2020s) and autonomy (to the mid-2030s). The first wave will impact relatively few jobs – perhaps 3%. By the mid-2030s, however, up to 30% of jobs could be automated – mostly those involving clerical and manual tasks. The need for upskilling the workforce is clear: as technology evolves at an ever-increasing pace, so too will employees’ skill sets in order to adapt and keep pace with such changes, so allowing all to thrive in the new era of AI.

AI will change how the discipline of project management and the role of project managers will function in the future. By 2030, 80% of the work of today’s project management discipline will be eliminated as AI takes on traditional project management functions such as data collection, tracking and reporting.2 In this context, the role of the project manager will shift from ‘managers’ to ‘leaders’ who are able to integrate AI capabilities into new practices and procedures, allowing for a greater focus on activities requiring soft skills such as ideation, communication, listening, problem solving and emotional intelligence.

AI can be used to analyse disparate and ‘big’ data with greater speed and dexterity to derive actionable, tangible insights. In this way, project managers will be empowered with more and better quality data and insights to improve the speed, quality and accuracy of decision-making throughout the project lifecycle.

In this report, we outline the five main areas where AI will transform the practice of project management and examine the characteristics of future project managers and organisations. We highlight the key considerations to make before implementing AI-enabled project management software and the important next steps that organisations can take today to prepare for a future where AI and humans will work together.

riyadh al najjar

Riyadh Al Najjar

KSA Country Leader

Transformation Management BU Leader

Middle East Region

faisal sarraj pwc


Faisal Al-Sarraj

Transformation Management BU Partner

Middle East Region

1 PwC, ‘Will robots really steal our jobs? An international analysis of the potential long term impact of automation’, 2018
2 Gartner, ‘How AI will reinvent Program or Portfolio Management’, 2018

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Riyadh Al Najjar

KSA Country Senior Leader & Transformation Management Unit Leader

Faisal Al-Sarraj

Transformation Management Unit Partner

Mohammad Alkhaldi

Partner, Transformation Management Unit & Head of the Centre of Excellence

Fauaz Labadi

Transformation Management BU Director

Areej Abukar

Transformation Management BU Senior Manager

Ahmad Alshaikh

Transformation Management BU Manager

Ayham Fayyoumi

Senior Manager, Education & Skills Practice

Tel: +971566760198

Hamza Zaidan

Transformation Management BU Manager

Lana Al Shaer

Transformation Management BU Senior Consultant

Dr. Scott Nowson

Artificial Intelligence Lead

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