AI for the PMO: Perception vs. Reality  - Photo by Possessed Photography on UnsplashToday’s PMOs face unprecedented demands to achieve more for the company’s bottom line while battling with less time, budget and resources to get the job done. However, despite the potential gains, many PMO leaders are sceptical about the benefits and functionality of implementing artificial intelligence (AI). This is due to misperceptions about its capabilities in project portfolio management (PPM) tools.

Let’s take a look at the three most common misperceptions surrounding AI and its applications in PPM and explore the reality behind this oft-dismissed solution.

Perception: AI is a Sci-fi Concept or an IT Department Buzzword, Not a Serious PPM Tool

Pop culture has shaped our perceptions of AI as cyborgs and sentient computers. Meanwhile, corporate culture has relegated AI to the domain of IT. Despite this, AI has evolved into a profoundly useful tool with extensive applications in a variety of industries.

AI systems take on tasks commonly performed by humans with added “reasoning, learning, understanding, recognition and problem solving. When applied to PPM these AI capabilities offer PMOs the agility and business acumen they need to help meet the demands placed on businesses by the digital economy.

  1. Automation: Remember those aforementioned demands on a PMO’s time to serve the needs of the business? Automation takes on many time-consuming tasks once reliant on manual spreadsheets, constant email queries and numerous team meetings. AI automates data collection, data interpretation and reporting. It also has applications in time entry and tracking, forecasting and project scoring.
  2. Reporting: While it’s not one of the flashier applications of AI in PPM, reporting can yield transformative results for the PMO and the businesses they serve. Reporting provides the PMO with comprehensive data collated for interpretation. The PMO can utilize that in forecasting, trend analysis and real-time status updates that enhances decision-making for stakeholders.
  3. Forecasting: Most businesses can be quite unpredictable — to a point. AI equips PMOs with a more foreknowledge than that of their manual-reliant colleagues. As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. Forecasting allows the PMO to develop what-if scenarios based on trend analysis and make decisions based on predictions founded in solid, reliable data.

Perception: AI implementation is Too Disruptive.

On the surface, the reluctance to implement wholesale change is understandable. Change management is a booming industry because change is hard! However, disruption and difficulty shouldn’t be barriers to entry for using a tool as important as AI in PPM.

Yes, there are growing pains to the process, but the ultimate outcome can be worth that temporary discomfort. The reality is that proper management and strategic planning can streamline the change management process. It ensures a successful transition and smooth implementation of AI. Start with these tips for successful change management.

1. Do the research before you purchase/add new products.

Successful implementation begins with selecting a product that actually fits the needs of your business. Research can be time-consuming, but the outcome will be a solution that minimizes growing pains and benefits the people who use it.

2. Prepare your organization for the change.

Successful transitions start with people preparation. Think of the early process as a long tailgate party before the big AI game. You want to sell the benefits of AI on a personal level to every user and to the company as a whole. You should also be realistic so that your teams are prepared for the inevitable challenges.

3. Establish change cheerleaders.

Every organization has its cheerleaders — the team members who bring a lot of positive energy to the table and have a knack for rallying the troops. Send them out to evangelize the benefits of the coming changes and dispel negative myths providing more information or directing them to someone who can help.

4. Set the example.

You can’t successfully implement any change you don’t embrace. Don’t cut corners, don’t complain and don’t reinforce negative myths. And don’t forget to celebrate wins. When getting started, it’s important to recognize every milestone and offer gratitude and praise to the team for their accomplishments. They are a soothing balm when challenging times arise.

Perception: AI will replace the PMO

The last perception that many PMOs and organizations have about AI is that it will replace the PMO. However, the reality is that it’s simply not possible to lose the human touch in AI. Remember that the earlier definition of AI included “humanlike,” not human. The reality is that the AI cannot replace the PMO, only assist them, for these reasons.

1. People are required to program AI to perform the necessary tasks. AI follows algorithms created by individuals, with a human understanding of why they are necessary and how they apply to the larger business goals and strategies. The PMO provides the context for automation, planning, reporting, data collection, and so-on.

2. People are required to utilize AI, once implemented, and ensure its ongoing success. AI’s applications are meaningless without human individuals to use them, interpret data gleaned from them and make decisions based on that data.

3. People are required to expand AI applications. AI may have the ability to learn, but updates and expansions on its processes and applications are driven by us humans. As the business changes and evolves and the PMO’s requirements change accordingly, so, too, will the applications of the AI.


To better meet the needs of today’s demanding business environments, PMOs need to exploit every tool in their arsenal. AI can be a powerful partner in successful PPM — if PMOs dispel common AI myths for themselves and embrace the real benefits AI brings to the table. In the end, it is not humans vs. AI, but rather, AI assisting us to do our jobs better and bring more benefits to the organizations we serve.

KeyedInAt KeyedIn, our mission is to make our customers more successful by empowering them to place the right bets, turn quickly and deliver faster. As a leader in Agile Portfolio Management, KeyedIn offers a suite of SaaS solutions that support business transformation, strategy realization and organizational change. The company’s award-winning products go beyond simple project management to encompass portfolio analysis, scenario modeling, capacity planning, product management, strategic resource management and more – supporting the evolving needs of PMOs, ePMOs and SROs. Join the hundreds of customers that have partnered with KeyedIn, including Walgreens Boots Alliance, Universal Electronics and Office Depot. Learn more by visiting


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