On Tuesday, February 13th, 2024, the Orange County Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI-OC) gathered for its monthly dinner meeting, featuring an engaging keynote presentation titled “Navigating the AI Frontier for Project Management” by Betsy Stockdale from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Betsy began her presentation by emphasizing the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on project management. While IT is not a new concept, she highlighted the emergence of generative AI, exemplified by recent software launches like Google Gemeni, PMI Infinity, and Microsoft Copilot within the past three months.

In her introduction, Betsy showed the versatile applications of AI in project management, specifically in the realms of creativity, productivity, and analysis. AI can contribute to the creative process by generating titles, drafting slides, and more. Productivity gets a boost with AI’s ability to draft user stories, acceptance criteria. AI can even help with analysis by performing data crunching.

The audience also participated in discussions about their experiences with AI. Attendees shared instances of utilizing AI for creating various project management artifacts, such as RACI charts, resumes, cover letters, recommendation letters, presentations, interview questions, and status reports.

Betsy delved into the important considerations and potential pitfalls associated with AI usage, shedding light on privacy and ethical concerns. She cautioned the audience to be mindful of the information fed into AI algorithms, as these tools only know what they’ve been trained on, potentially introducing biases into the results. Stressing the importance of treating AI-generated content as drafts, she urged the audience to collectively address the ethical implications of AI in project management.

Transitioning from concerns to possibilities, Betsy demonstrated how project managers can leverage AI as a super-powered assistant to enhance productivity. She showcased scenarios using PMI Infinity and Chat GPT 3.5 (the free version), providing the audience with valuable insights into integrating AI tools into their project management workflows.

Betsy left the audience with three key takeaways: experiment, play, and be curious. Encouraging project managers to explore the capabilities of AI platforms, she reminded them to prioritize privacy and security considerations. Acknowledging the need for the human race to navigate the ethical landscape of AI, Betsy’s presentation prompted the PMI-OC community to reflect on the responsible use of these powerful tools.

The presentation served as a thought-provoking exploration of the AI frontier, leaving the audience inspired to explore and incorporate AI into their project management practices while upholding ethical standards and ensuring the security of sensitive information. As we continue to navigate the AI frontier, the insights shared by Betsy Stockdale serve as valuable guideposts moving forward. 

Roderick Conwi PM
Freezepoints eMagazine Publications Team of PMI Orange County
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