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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Ward

Above and Beyond: The Indispensable Role of Humans in Project Management

Have you ever tried to manage your marketing organization’s ongoing work across campaigns and programs? If you have, you’re likely aware that it is no simple task and only becomes increasingly complex as you aim to expand.

When it comes to project management of any kind, the integration of automated solutions has supplied countless hours of efficiency and relief from manual data entry. Perhaps you’re familiar with systems like Workfront and Aprimo which excel at curating this information for leadership and triggering task steps.

However, it’s important to emphasize that removing people out of the process would be a grave mistake. Despite the many benefits of automation in Project Management, humans are indispensable because each of us bring unique qualities, such as experiential creativity, emotional intelligence, and ethical judgment to work management that machines and AI cannot fully replicate.

Combining the strengths of automation with human capabilities yields a more effective and balanced approach to work management.

Let’s delve deeper into what can a person bring to the table that the tool cannot:

Creativity and Innovation: Humans possess creative thinking and the ability to generate novel ideas, strategies, and solutions. Automation follows predefined rules and algorithms, making it less capable of ideation and innovation.

Complex Problem Solving: Humans excel at solving complex, unstructured problems that require critical thinking, empathy, and a deep understanding of context. Automation is limited to tasks that can be algorithmically defined.

Emotional Intelligence: Humans can perceive and understand emotions, which is essential for effective communication, collaboration, and customer interactions. Automation lacks emotional intelligence and cannot establish genuine human connections.

Communication and Collaboration: Humans excel at nuanced communication, active listening, and collaboration. These skills are vital in team settings, negotiations, and client interactions where effective human-to-human interaction is essential.

Contextual Understanding: Humans can interpret context, including cultural and social nuances, which is crucial for effective decision-making and problem-solving in various situations. Automation may struggle with context-dependent tasks.

Intuition: Humans often rely on intuition, gut feelings, or experience-based judgment to make decisions when data is limited or ambiguous. Automation relies solely on data-driven decisions.

Complex Decision Trade-offs: Humans can weigh multiple factors, trade-offs, and uncertainties when making complex decisions. Automation systems tend to simplify decisions based on predefined criteria.

Continuous Learning and Improvement: Humans can continually learn, adapt, and improve their skills and knowledge over time. Automation requires updates and modifications by human operators to adapt and improve.

In our years of helping clients with developing marketing workflows and designing project management solutions, we are often met with the challenge of minimizing human interaction and allowing the “system do its thing.” Efficient work management design can help you do more with less (humans), but there will always be a need for traffic, project and operations managers to handle the finer details and adapt to ever changing circumstances.

Never lose sight of the value of your people. Automation has its place, but it’s also a buzzword that continues to gain momentum; it’s up there with AI and machine learning. If you’re curious how it all fits together, check out one of our latest articles, AI vs Machine Learning: Don’t Get Caught in the Buzzword Bonanza!


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