Thursday, June 15, 2023

Make it a process (with AI)

This we all know: One core idea in project management is that projects are an integrated collection of processes: 
  • Usually organized by "knowledge areas" wherein specific methodologies are practiced, but 
  • Sometimes by objective or task (like, for instance, developing a use case or requirements set, a task with an objective that is applicable to many knowledge areas)
But then there's always the one-off, the exceptionally unique, the specially-talented-person job jar which gets the job done, but is also hard to replicate, to scale, to predict outcomes and quality.

Make it a process (*)
So, perhaps the thing is to make the one-off a defined process that can be inventoried for the next need.. 
Easier said than done?
Yes, but now comes AI agents, assistants, and avatars that can do the unique, and do it with mind numbing regularity and predictability, perhaps as good as your best project person.

Define an agent Interface
Obviously, the way things stand today, you'll need some training data, and a one-off may not have that requisite depth or breadth. Nonetheless, an agent-function, plus whatever data you have, can be enveloped by a boundary for which entry or stimulation is by an interface between you and the agent. 

Agent tasks
What would your AI process agent do?
Begin with "workflow management".  The existing workflow tools will all get an AI upgrade. They will manage the points of entry, points of inspection, partial product inventory, and most importantly they will manage process constraints. 

It will be like having an avatar expert in the Theory of Constraints and Critical Chain scheduling overseeing resources, inventory, raw materials, and agile work units.

Once you've got workflow mastered, your agent may move on to risk management, estimating probabilities, imagining tricks and traps ahead, and formulating tradeoffs for decisions.

And, the decision-tree will certainly be a AI artifact, arranging all the branches, and working the math!

What humans do
Once you've got a 'process' defined for how to make a 'process' from a one-off, your human expert can go onto the next innovation, with an AI agent to tidy up behind!

(*) Inspired by a piece from Daniel Miessler, who opines: "Like, if you're a business, it doesn't matter what your best humans can do once or three times. What matters is what you can do as a process, with consistently high quality."

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