Authored By: Gaurav Dhooper
In the various performance domains of Project Management, the use of digital technologies is becoming important allowing the project managers to focus more on value delivery and benefits realization.
RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is one such technology which is helping in automating manual, repetitive and rule-based tasks performed on the UI (User Interface) layer of an enterprise software or a computer application. For example, the manual activity of sending the project progress reports (generated from the data entered in any project management software such as JIRA, Trello, Zoho, etc.) through emails on daily/weekly basis. An RPA bot could help immensely in automating such Project Communications Management activities and, thus, save the human effort, making the process efficient and error-free.
For accelerating digital transformation, the intelligent automation (combination of RPA and Artificial Intelligence capabilities) helps in reading and processing unstructured datasets (pdfs, emails, images) and allows in making predictions and data-driven actionable decisions. In the above example, the project reports to be published could get a data feed from an email where in the task status such as “Completed”, “WIP” and “Not Started” is required to be extracted along with the prediction for target date of completion for unfinished tasks. This type of activity will require decision-based steps based on the historical data and machine learning model.
RPA technology can also help in effective Resource Planning and Management of organization’s resources including finance, human skills, inventory, production, technology, materials and machinery. RPA could help in pulling out information from various organization silos and repositories to identify the available pool of these resources and help in automated deployment to new or existing projects.
With the help of intelligent automation, Project Schedule Management can become easier as the repetitive tasks of updating the milestones, activities, estimated start and end dates will be automated based on the inputs in the project management software. This will allow the project manager to focus more on improving the value delivered to the customer and spend less time on admin/ planning tasks.
Project Risk Management is another crucial domain which can make use of RPA by proactively identifying the variations/ risks in the processes and defining the risk response strategies for mitigation and bringing adaptability to handle the uncertainty. RPA also helps in bringing consistency in outcomes with the help of standardized processes as part of automation design.
Last but not the least, Change Management is the inevitable part of any project. In this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment, the popularity of change-driven delivery approaches is becoming more relevant as compared to plan-driven approaches. RPA is also about bringing a positive change based on the prioritized automation pipeline for augmenting the human efficiency and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, agility and innovation along with streamlined processes and improved ways of working.
In nutshell, RPA is the steppingstone in the digital transformation initiative and is becoming an imperative for implementing efficient and effective project management practices and competencies.