AI and The Lazy Project Manager


Advances in Project Management Series


By Peter Taylor

London, UK

Keep it simple

In 2009 I wrote, as part of the introduction to my first book (still the most popular and successful one[1]) ‘The Lazy Project Manager: How to be twice as productive and still leave the office early’, as follows:

“Productive laziness is all about success, but success with far less effort.

By advocating being a ‘lazy’ project manager, I do not intend that we should all do absolutely nothing. I am not saying we should all sit around drinking coffee, reading good books, and engaging in idle gossip whilst watching the project hours go by and the non-delivered project milestones disappear over the horizon. That would obviously be just plain stupid and would result in an extremely short career in project management – in fact, probably in a very short career, full stop!

Lazy does not mean stupid.

No, I really mean that we should all adopt a more focused approach to project management and exercise our efforts where it really matters, rather than rushing around like busy, busy bees involving ourselves in unimportant, non-critical activities that others can better address, or which do not need addressing at all in some cases.

Welcome to the home of ‘productive laziness’.”

The essence of this vastly different book on project management was that a good project manager would always work ‘smarter and not harder’ and I tried to present this argument through the use of dinosaur analogies, referencing the work of an Italian economist and a management thinker, weaved in with a touch of the approach of a Prussian field Marshall and a beloved Disney character. You know, all the usual stuff!

Since then, I have written and presented a lot.  On many different subjects. But always, at least I have always tried, by applying that greatest of principles ‘KISS[2]’ to ensure simplicity of purpose, focus, process, and outcome.

And, if you think about it, the rise of support that AI will bring to project management can only be considered as part of this KISS application.

Personally, and I am quite sure most project managers would agree, anything that can alleviate some of the repetitive and arduous (but important of course) tracking, analytics and reporting activities, and not only alleviate but improve, then sign me up!

Going for an AI drive

Let’s think about this as a car analogy.

For example, in fact I’m going to explore you two examples here. The first is, if you think about travelling in London, which is my nearest city. Now London is a complicated landscape to try and navigate around if you don’t know exactly where you’re going and even then, there are challenges of traffic congestion, roadworks, road closures, diversions, events, things like that. So, moving around London, assuming you’re talking about moving above ground at this point (not using the London Underground) I could get in my car, and I could drive to London, I can do that. I have a reasonable knowledge of London, but normally I would not because normally I would catch a train to London and then to get across London it is then a matter of using a choice of the famous London taxis, or perhaps or doing a private hire.


To read entire article, click here

Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Routledge worldwide. Their contributions to the PMWJ are coordinated by Prof Darren Dalcher, Lancaster University Management School, UK.

How to cite this paper: Taylor, P. (2022). AI and The Lazy Project Manager, PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue III, March. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/pmwj115-Mar2022-Taylor-AI-and-the-lazy-project-manager.pdf

About the Author

Peter Taylor

London, UK


Keynote speaker and coach, Peter Taylor is the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, along with many other books on Project Management, PMO development, Executive Sponsorship, Transformation Leadership, and Speaking Skills. He has built and led some of the largest PMOs in the world with organisations such as Siemens, IBM, UKG, and now Ceridian, where he is the VP Global PMO. He has also delivered over 450 lectures around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’.

[1] Until this one perhaps?

[2] KISS, an acronym for keep it simple, stupid, is a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. The phrase has been associated with aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson. Variations on the phrase include: ‘Keep it simple, silly’, ‘keep it short and simple’, ‘keep it simple and straightforward’, ‘keep it small and simple’.