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A majority of Australians believe AI in project management can help overcome challenges

Published on 20/02/2024 by Andrew Blair

GetApp’s latest study on current project management practices reveals optimism from many industry professionals in AI’s potential to address project management challenges. This article investigates factors that can lead to project failure and how AI can help streamline processes and enhance efficiency within a project management framework.

Employees using AI in project management to complete a task

According to a ResearchAndMarkets Global AI in Project Management Market 2023-2030 report, a significant compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22% is forecast for the project management AI market. This expected growth means that the estimated market size will increase from US$2.95 billion in 2022 to US$14.11 billion by 2030. 

This growth forecast may represent a need to improve decision-making in business by further automating project management processes. Typically, project management software helps automate task assignment, resource allocation, scheduling, and milestone tracking for all phases of a project.  

While the advancements of AI technology are perhaps emerging quicker than expected, there may still be some restraints on AI tech’s integration into project management. Many companies may be on the fence about this relatively new technology and may still be asking how AI tools can be used to overcome project management challenges.

To gain insight into this, GetApp surveyed 545 professionals either moderately or very involved in project management processes to understand how they currently use project management software, which project methodology they use, and the challenges that can lead to project failure. Furthermore, this article evaluates how AI tech can be applied in project management. The criteria that respondents had to fulfil for the study are in the methodology section at the end of this article. 

Most project management professionals use two to three software programs

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents said they use two to three software programs for project management, of which some may be used for specific processes. In fact, the most cited project management processes where specific software is used are displayed in the infographic below:

 Infographic showing the most frequently cited use of specific software in project management processes

The use of multiple software may indicate that some software tools work best as stand-alone systems in their functions or that there are difficulties integrating one multipurpose tool in various project management phases and utilised by different stakeholders.

How to choose a project management software for your business?

The success or failure of a project may depend on how well it is managed. Thus, the use of the right software programs for the purposes of a specific project can help successfully manage and complete projects. The following specific software tools to aid project management processes were most frequently cited by respondents:

  1. Task management software helps teams work together to complete projects. It often consists of features such as time and project tracking to ensure tasks are monitored, and the generation of reports for trends analysis. 
  2. Project planning software allows businesses to create timelines for project completion and also allocate resources, assign tasks, and create a budget for project-related expenses.
  3. Team communication software helps teams effectively communicate among themselves and allows users to share project files and receive alerts for project updates or incoming messages.

According to participants, project management processes are most commonly handled by a group of employees in their companies rather than a single individual. A significant proportion of respondents (44%) said they have a group dedicated to project management processes in their company and a further 22% said they have a group of people handling project management processes alongside other responsibilities. This may imply that project management processes are resource-dependent and may consist of a number of factors or complexities that one person would not be able to handle effectively. This also means that project management can be costly for organisations and if projects are not completed successfully, it could end up in substantial losses or expenses.

Additionally, there are a number of project management methodologies that organisations can choose to use. Depending on the needs, requirements, or scope of projects, some companies may favour one methodology over another. To illustrate, just over a third (34%) of respondents said their company uses the agile methodology, followed by 24% who said their company uses the waterfall methodology.

84% of respondents think project management processes can be improved

Within a conventional project management framework, projects are deemed successful if they are delivered on time and within budget against an initial plan. When we asked participants what percentage of projects in their company are completed within a scheduled time and planned budget, 40% of respondents cited that only 50% - 80% of their projects come in on time and on budget, respectively. This may suggest there are wasted resources and unrealised benefits that organisations may be missing out on when projects are not successfully completed. 

As a result, about 8 in 10 respondents think project management processes can be improved, of which nearly a quarter (24%) think there is significant room for improvement, while 59% say there is some potential for improvement. 

There are certain success factors of project management that can enable a higher percentage of project success. Most notably, 46% of respondents said the availability of required expertise and technology is one of the most important factors for project success in an organisation. This may suggest that improvements are required where some organisations and project leaders may still be using applications such as manual spreadsheets which may have not evolved much over the years. 

Bar chart showing the top five factors for project success in an organisation
How to maintain the quality of client relationships
Customer relationship management (CRM) software enables customer interaction, support, and relationship management. Businesses can leverage CRM software to better manage their customers through the introduction of reliable systems, processes, and procedures. 

In accordance with the top contributing factors of project success, it is also important to know what contributes to project failure and focus on where technology can help overcome challenges in a project lifecycle and improve processes. 

Insufficient skills are the leading cause of project failure

While there can be many reasons for a project to head south, there are some common causes of project failure. Businesses can prepare themselves for these and allocate resources to minimise their effects from the get-go. Based on our survey, respondents frequently cited the following main causes of project failure:

Bar chart showing the top five causes of project failure in an organisation

The leading cause of project failure is insufficient skills among the project team, according to 39% of respondents. While the availability of knowledge and technical resources in is a top factor for project success, organisations should address upskilling needs and train project teams to help increase the chances of project success. 

How can organisations enhance skills among project teams?

Organisations can strengthen skills among project teams by implementing the following strategies: 

  • Setting realistic goals: establishing achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives can motivate team members and prevent demotivation due to unrealistic targets.
  • Providing regular feedback: conducting regular performance reviews and providing 360-degree constructive feedback can help team members grow personally and professionally. 
  • Promoting recognition and rewards: providing recognition and rewards can help motivate team members to perform better by offering both tangible rewards and intangible forms of appreciation.
  • Fostering continuous training: offering regular training opportunities can enhance skills and competencies as well as increase motivation and confidence to handle project tasks. 

Additionally, respondents cited budget issues in project management such as poor cost management (31%) and inadequate financial resources (30%) also as top contributors to project failure. Businesses can mitigate budget issues in project management by automating the reporting of financial results, project status, and transactions with the use of financial reporting software which can also help them control and increase operational efficiencies. 

There are individual software solutions to the main causes of project failure or causes of problematic projects. However, an alternative could be to integrate AI in project management which may have direct or indirect solutions to the causes of project failure or can be used as a contributing factor to aid project success. 

AI in project management can help overcome challenges

Our survey revealed that nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents think that AI could help overcome the main difficulties in project management. However, a smaller portion (18%) of respondents are still unsure of how AI tech could be beneficial. In this section, we will evaluate how AI-powered tools could help the current usage of specific software for project management process, factors for project success, and causes of project failure. 

Using AI-based tools in project management processes can help reduce the need to have specific software for collaboration and risk management. AI can also enhance project management by automating resource optimisation and decision-making, thus enabling project leaders to focus more on tasks such as upskilling or training their project team. Here’s how:

Collaboration: AI-powered collaboration tools can enable uninterrupted communication and real-time information sharing between stakeholders and team members. AI tech can facilitate advanced collaboration and communication by managing and automating sending and drafting emails and organising meetings, thereby promoting efficient coordination while reducing communication gaps.

Risk management: AI tech has the potential to analyse large amounts of data to generate real-time predictions, allowing project managers to address threats quickly. AI tools may also help businesses classify and process available information while monitoring access to datasets.

Resource optimisation: AI tech has the capability to review the history of past projects and provide real-time information and analysis on resource management. This information can then be used by project managers to compose a project team and assign roles to individual team members that best facilitate optimal functioning. 

Decision making: AI-driven analytics can provide real-time, valuable insights that enable project managers to make informed decisions quickly and efficiently. Organisations can leverage predictive analytics where AI tools can anticipate potential roadblocks and facilitate proactive problem-solving. 

44% of respondents are interested in using AI-powered software for project management

A combined total of 74% of respondents are in consensus that in the near future, technology such as AI in project management processes will be the main driver in making critical business decisions. 

Bearing this in mind, we investigated the current adoption levels of AI-powered software for project management in Australian companies. While there is a general agreement that AI will play an important role for business and project leaders in the near future, a combined total of 44% of respondents said their company is not currently using AI but they are interested in it. Of these respondents, 23% said their company is in the process of incorporating it and 21% said they have not yet started incorporating it. 

Donut chart showing the percentage of respondents that indicate if their company is currently using AI-powered software for project management

Although there is significant interest in using AI technology for project management, there may still be reservations. AI in project management also presents challenges such as data quality, employees’ resistance to change, integration with existing systems, and ethical considerations and bias. 

As such, companies may require more comprehensive strategies to overcome these challenges or gain better insights from leading companies that are already using AI in project management. In the next article, GetApp provides insights from the 29% of respondents who are already using AI tech in project management and evaluates how it is being used, the benefits, and how they may have overcome some of the challenges.

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To collect this data, GetApp interviewed 545 employees at companies in Australia in September 2023. The respondents for this survey had to fulfil the following criteria:

  • Be an Australian resident; 
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 65 years old;
  • Work full-time or part-time;
  • The company they work for uses project management software and has more than one employee;
  • They themselves use a computer to perform daily tasks at work at least sometimes;
  • Be either moderately or very involved in project management processes within the company. 

This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.

About the author

Andrew is a Content Analyst for GetApp, giving SMEs insights into tech, software and business trends. Interest in entrepreneurship, furthering projects and startups.

Andrew is a Content Analyst for GetApp, giving SMEs insights into tech, software and business trends. Interest in entrepreneurship, furthering projects and startups.