Issues That Project Managers and Other Members of the Project Team Should Be Aware of (Part 2)


Artificial Intelligence Use in Project Management



By Ivano di Filippo, Dr. Josh Ramirez, Darrell Mesa, Claudia Alcelay and Rebecca Winston

Italy, Spain and USA


In the technology world today, it is vital for project managers to have a sense of how artificial intelligence (AI) systems work. In particular, project managers must be familiar with the algorithms that drive AI systems. An algorithm is a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem, answering a question, or providing a pathway to a decision (Cormen et al., 2009).

Algorithms are the building blocks of AI systems and fall into two main categories:

Rule-based systems:

Systems that operate using predefined rules are known as rule-based systems. For example, an expert system for project scheduling might follow a set of established rules for allocating resources and setting project deadlines. These rules are normally created by hand and do not change unless a human modifies them.

Machine learning models:

Which use changing and evolving datasets that can be used to predict future data by classifying data (Goodfellow et al., 2016). Basic AI capabilities in regard to AI applications in project management are data analysis, task automation, resource optimization, risk assessment, decision support and others (The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Project Management, 2021). Working in concert with artificial intelligence applications in project management, project managers will learn and continuously improve their cognitive skills to write clear and concise prompts for guiding AI outputs. (Pre-train Prompt and Predict: A Systematic Survey of Prompting Methods in Natural Language Processing, 2021).

Models in Machine Learning include:

  • Deep Learning Neural Networks:
    • Enables project managers to deal with large datasets and can make sense of complex patterns. For example, by analyzing historical data the neural networks can predict project delays by finding patterns that lead to delays.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) Models:
    • Uses algorithms for doing sentiment analysis on stakeholder communications or automating extraction of the information from project documents, thereby enabling targeted communication and reducing chances of critical information being missed.
  • Decision Trees:
    • Assists in the decision-making process by evaluating the different possible outcomes and suggesting the ones that could be helpful based upon the past data. Decision Trees can be used to identify potential risks and their forecasted impacts on the project.

AI capabilities go beyond what have been traditional software solutions for project management. It is a combination of algorithms, hardware, and software designs that give AI the ability or human-like mental characteristics of an artificial agent, such as a robot. How are these new AI-like robots programmed? Most AI programs are written in a dialect of Lisp called Common Lisp. AI programmers do not write programs that tell the computer what to do. Instead, they write a program that has the capabilities that we now seek in computer tools and systems.


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Editor’s note: This article is an introduction to a series of articles by the authors on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the project management field. While the authors recognize the rapidly growing attention on the potential power and impact of AI on project management, they also want to point out the risks of assuming AI and human intelligence are or can be equated. The authors have previously researched and published on topics related to neuro-behavioral issues and cognitive intelligence in project management.

How to cite this work: di Filippo, I., Ramirez, J., Mesa, D., Winston, R.  (2024). Part 2: Issues That Project Managers and Other Members of the Project Team Should Be Aware of, Artificial Intelligence Use in Project Management, series article, PM World Journal, Volume XIII, Issue VII, July. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/pmwj143-Jul2024-di-Filippo-et-al-AI-in-Project-Management-series-part-2.pdf

About the Authors

Ivano di Filippo

Rome, Italy


Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Scientist specializing in Project Management and AI
LinkedIn Profile | Official Website | Publications | Link to the book

Ivano di Filippo is a distinguished scientist in Applied Cognitive Neuroscience, focusing on project management and artificial intelligence. He currently leads the Cognitive Readiness Research Program, which is dedicated to advancing the mental preparation of leaders. From 2017 to 2019, Ivano served on the Board of Directors at the Italian Institute of Project Management (ISIPM), where he also holds certification as a Project Manager.

Educated in medicine at La Sapienza University of Rome, Ivano furthered his technical skills in computer science, working for ten years as a professional IT and Web programmer. His diverse expertise is enriched by over 30 years of studying and practicing Zen, integrating oriental disciplines into his professional and personal life.

In 2011, Ivano joined forces with Prof. Dr. Russell Archibald and Dr. Daniele Di Filippo in the international research program on Cognitive Readiness, eventually succeeding Dr. Archibald as the Program Director at his request.

In November 2022, he was appointed the Scientific Referent at ISIPM, continuing to impact the field with his innovative approach to integrating neuroscience into project management practices.

He is the co-author of the book “Cognitive Readiness in Project Teams – Reducing Project Complexity and Increasing Success in Project Management”.


Dr. Josh Ramirez

Washington, USA


Dr. Josh Ramirez, PMP, NPPQ, is CEO of the Institute for Neuro & Behavioral Project Management, which he founded with Dr. Jodi Wilson. Josh is also co-author of the NeuralPlan (www.neural-plan.com) NPPQ master planner certification with Dr. Shari De Baets from Belgium, and he is an adjunct professor of project management, with experience that includes project management and project controls, including work at several national laboratories and other projects throughout the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) complex. He has authored best practices for the DOE Energy Facilities Contractors Group and wrote for other project management periodicals. His doctoral dissertation is titled Toward a Theory of Behavioral Project Management. You can view an introduction to Josh and his colleagues’ work in Behavioral Project Management at https://youtu.be/miqbagN_4dQ. The future of project management is designing PM methodologies around the beings that predict and deliver projects: humans. You can also listen to some of the podcasts Josh and his colleagues have been featured on, here: Behavioral PM: the Freakonomics Approach to Project Delivery with Dr. Josh Ramirez – https://pmhappyhour.com/ep077/; Neuroscience in Project Management – https://www.pmi.org/chapters/wdc/pmi-resources/pm-podcasts/pm-point-of-view-69; Tips from Behavioral Science – https://www.pmi.org/chapters/wdc/pmi-resources/pm-podcasts/pm-point-of-view-95.


Darrell Mesa

California, USA


Darrell Mesa, a Senior Program Planner / Scheduler and a dynamic intrapreneur, with extensive expertise in project management, including program planning, scheduling, and risk management. As a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), he has a demonstrated history of steering large-scale projects to success by applying industry best practices, with special proficiency in Earned Value Management (EVM), Critical Path Schedule Management, and Work Breakdown Structure. His role as a Microsoft Project Practitioner at Denver Corporate Search showcases his ability to develop and update intricate MS Project schedules, adhering to stringent government regulations.

Darrell’s professional journey is marked by significant roles that have allowed him to leverage his skills effectively. At Projitz LLC, as a Senior Program Planner / Scheduler, he enhanced project efficiency through meticulous application of Work Breakdown Structure and Critical Path Analysis. As a Senior Integrated Master Scheduler at Highbury Defense Group, he made notable improvements in program efficiencies through the execution of Integrated Master Schedules and the integration of Earned Schedule methodologies. A key achievement in his career was the development of 89 Project E-cademy training courses, which increased team productivity by 10%. In his capacity as a Learning Management Administrator, he demonstrated dedication to knowledge dissemination, using WordPress Tutor LMS to bolster team skills in Project Scheduling using Microsoft Project Professional and Project Web App.

In addition to his corporate roles, he is the founder of Influence IPM LLC, a business focused on Integrated Project Management, where he leverages his vast experience to provide cutting-edge project management solutions. More about his entrepreneurial venture can be found at influenceipm.com. Beyond traditional project management, he is also an active AI Influencer through his YouTube channel (Restless Minds), where he creates and shares content on AI advancements, fostering a community of tech enthusiasts and professionals keen on the latest in artificial intelligence. Based in Murrieta, California, he is keen on connecting with like-minded professionals and can be reached via email at darrell.mesa@pm-ss.org or through LinkedIn at https://linkedin.com/in/darrell-mesa-pmp-csm-4bbb8955.


Claudia Alcelay

Madrid, Spain


Claudia Alcelay Product Manager, AI @ Project Management Institute | PMP®, PMI-ACP, CSPO®, SAFe 5 is an experienced project manager specializing in AI with a deep background in innovation, particularly in driving the evolution of the EdTech sector. She has served for the European Commission and various ministries in Spain, Egypt, and France. She currently works as a Product Manager for AI at the Project Management Institute, where she focuses on developing innovative solutions to enhance their training portfolio. Additionally, her professional journey involves leveraging a knowledge-based approach in data-centric AI models. She is an active community member, sharing her findings in her weekly newsletter, on LinkedIn, “My AI Reading List,” and also serving as a panelist for MIT Technology Review and participating in the Advisory Council for Harvard Business Review (HBR).


Rebecca (Becky) Winston

Idaho, USA


Rebecca (Becky) Winston, Esq., JD, PMI Fellow, is a former Chair of the board of the Project Management Institute (PMI®). Becky has over 30 years of experience in program and project management, primarily on programs funded by the US government or their contractors.

Active in PMI since 1993, Rebecca Winston helped pioneer PMI’s Specific Interest Groups (SIGs) in the nineties, including the Project Earth and Government SIGs, and was a founder and first co-chair of the Women in Project Management SIG. She served two terms on the PMI board of directors as director at large, Secretary Treasurer, Vice Chair (for two years), and Chair (2002). She was elected a PMI Fellow in 2005. She is also a member of the American Bar Association and the Association of Female Executives in the United States. She currently is the Executive Vice President of the College of Performance Management and the lead for their ISO standards committee given her 25 plus years of ISO experience.

She has served as an advisor to organizations such as the National Nuclear Security Administration (USA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on topics ranging from Program and Project Management to project reviews, risk management, vulnerability assessments, software development and artificial intelligence. She served on the Air Force Studies Board for six years and serves the Intelligence Science Technology Engineering Group for the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, as well as actively serving on many studies for the National Research Council.  She can be contacted at rebeccawinston@yahoo.com