Our first Bristol community meetup

Published by Clare Patterson on

On 2nd April we held our first Bristol meetup. Andy Murrray and Martin Paver shared the stage to provide an introduction into the challenges associated with advanced project data analytics and considerations for next steps.  

Martin provided an introduction to the meetup, highlighting recent news, including the article from Gartner summarising that by 2030 80% of today’s project management tasks will be eliminated by AI. He felt that although a number of tasks will disappear, new opportunities will emerge. Opportunities which derive insights from data and help to improve delivery confidence.

Andy made a compelling case structured around the promise of ’75 years of winging it’. He highlighted that much of our best practice is what we believe to be the most effective approach; the evidence to support such an approach is patchy. He suggested that best practice should be that which is demonstrated as being the better approach, for a given context.

Andy highlighted that there has been a huge amount of research conducted on the causes of failure, yet we continue to repeat them. Although organisations sometimes use them as checklists, he believes that we should be able to conduct more forensic analysis that enables us to identify lead indicators. He proposed that instead of following the process of practice-research-theory, which can take years to get papers peer reviewed, we should accelerate the process so that the best practice is shaped by data and analytics. He suggested that in the future we should be leveraging project data to identify what works best, in which situations and to begin to identify lead indicators. These indicators can then help to shape decision making.  should be driven by  

Martin provided a compelling example of how, as a community, we are struggling to leverage the data from the £15bn+ Crossrail project. This data provides insights into 26,000 change requests and over £3bn in risk drawdown, insights that can help in the delivery of future projects. He provided examples from the US, Australia and New Zealand where he believes that the practice of ‘lessons learned’ is flawed and is largely ineffective. He suggested that instead of summarising experience into a paragraph or 2 of text, which in itself is tainted with bias, we should be using the data to help us to understand when we may be approaching a similar situation in the future.

He then provided a series of compelling examples where the role of project professionals will change in the future. Where data science and analytics can improve efficiency and drive a level of automation that will transform how projects are delivered.

Both talks provided compelling insights into how we can begin to change an entire profession and laid the foundation for what the Bristol meetup is seeking to achieve.

A link to the slides can be found here:

Project Data Analytics compressed

We look forward to more events in the coming months.

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