A new report from Project Management Institute (PMI) explores how high adopters of GenAI (or “trailblazers”) are leading the charge in embracing GenAI, unlocking performance enhancements, advancing GenAI adoption, and sharing their learnings to propel business transformation.

The report “First Movers’ Advantage: The Immediate Benefits of Adopting Generative AI for Project Management” surveyed 500 project professionals from around the globe, all using GenAI in their project work.

Organisations that encourage GenAI adoption see an increased use of GenAI among project professionals, setting the stage for transformative and positive outcomes, including:

* Trailblazers are more productive (93% of trailblazers versus 58% of low adopters or “explorers”), elevating their problem-solving (89% versus 46%), and more effective (88% versus 50%) by using GenAI.

* High adopters are strengthening their interpersonal skills – which PMI calls “power skills.” With GenAI, they are boosting collaboration (83% of trailblazers versus 32% of explorers) and creativity (84% versus 44%).

* Using GenAI, high adopters are seeing other project improvements, including project scope (87% trailblazers versus 34% explorers), scheduling (85% versus 46%), cost (85% versus 42%) and quality management (91% versus 40%).

A study by Microsoft and LinkedIn shows that the use of GenAI doubled in the last few months of 2023, with 75% of knowledge workers using it, a trend PMI has seen explode in its nearly one-million-member community of project professionals.

“Our research shows that GenAI trailblazers know how to maximise adoption to elevate their performance, navigate complex work, and usher in GenAI across their teams. They’re standing out from their peers for their innovative leadership,” says Pierre Le Manh, PMP, president and CEO of PMI. “We want to ensure project professionals who haven’t yet added this technology to their toolbox can quickly get up to speed and benefit from GenAI given its exponential growth.”

Project professionals leading GenAI adoption are already building strategic advantages over those still in the initial stages:

* Trailblazers are already mastering the critical skill of prompt engineering, the key to unlocking the full potential of GenAI.

* Trailblazers stand out because they use GenAI for more complex tasks, such as data analysis, planning, and risk management. These high adopters are three times more likely to strengthen their skills with GenAI when compared with explorers (36% versus 12%).

* High adopters also recognise the importance of actively advocating for organisational adoption.

“GenAI is transforming every industry, which will create more opportunities for project professionals because they will help organisations implement this disruptive technology,” says Le Manh. “A key insight from the report is that it’s much harder to accelerate adoption without organisational support.

“Trailblazers are 10-times more likely to work for organisations that empower them to use GenAI. It’s these forward-thinking organisations and their trailblazing project professionals that are seizing this moment and ready to lead the GenAI revolution.”