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Practical Project Data Analytics

We keep hearing about how the PMO will be impacted by the advances in technology around artificial intelligence – certainly, things like automation will make the job easier – and advances in data analytics will provide insights we’ve never been able to see before.
If you’re not up to date with the topic or find it hard to get into, make sure you look at our Inside PMO report about it – it should help ease you in.
We’ve been building up our knowledge about these areas through the Project Hack events. They’ve been running since 2018 and like any hacks, it’s about people coming together to have a go at solving a problem. It’s a practical get together – hands-on, collaborative and cooperative. It’s also eye-opening, hard work but good fun. Just like all the best learning experiences are!
This month we went to the latest Hack and thought we’d bring you an insight so you might consider going along to one of the future ones. If you’re interested, make sure you stay connected with the Project Data Community.
Here’s a quick flavour of the event itself

What the Project Hack is all about

And some introduction by me!

Starting to Hack


There are a number of challenges presented at each of the Hacks. Anyone can select which one to get involved in.
The idea is that each team will have at least a data scientist, coder, web developer and then the business side – Project Manager or PMO person.
Some of the challenges are graded as entry-level – so if you’ve never tried this before, it’s a relatively easy one to get you going.
In this article, I’ve shared three of them – from entry-level to more advanced.
In each one of the videos you’ll hear about the challenge that was set – then the teams will share how they provided a solution. They will share the technology they used and their thinking behind their approach to solving it.

Power Apps and PowerBi

This is a perfect one to take a look at – it includes using Microsoft Power Apps and PowerBi. It also includes the use of data from Excel spreadsheets so you’ll be familiar with that challenge!
A challenge like this – it almost doesn’t matter what its about – it’s giving you the opportunity to see how these applications work, so you start to have an idea about what’s possible.
The winners of the whole Project Hack event were another team looking at the same challenge, here’s their winning presentation:


Gamification at Work

This one was very different from some of the other challenges I’ve seen in the past. The challenge was all about introducing gamification into the team environment – it’s a nice challenge from a PMO point of view because it allows us to think about how gamification could work in our own organisations without getting too hung up on the technology side.
Sometimes Hack events are all about being curious, having the time to play around with ideas and work with others who are coming from it from a slightly different perspective.

AI Report Generation

This was classed as an advanced challenge because it featured something called GPT3 which is a fairly new release of technology:
Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 is an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text.
In other words, could we produce project reports without a human having to write them? It sounds fascinating and the team in this challenge found that it is possible, with lots more work needed!
Can you imagine that? No more project reports being written by human hand?

If you are interested in what’s happening at Project Hack and want to see some of the previous challenges, make sure you check out the showreel on YouTube.

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