Is having ML skills enough to manage an ML project?

Is having ML skills enough to manage an ML project? If not, what should one do to achieve those skills?

In my experience and opinion the answer is a strongest possible ‘No.’ The constraints the project manager is working to optimize within are business driven: ultimately time and money. How to deliver a collection of certain capabilities with a certain level of quality within a certain time and cost. It’s a series of business risk management decisions. While I do think it helps if a manager has knowledge of the technology on which the capabilities are built, if forced to pick between working for a great business manager with limited technical knowledge or a great technical specialist with limited business and project management skills, I would choose the former. A good project manager also will have developed skills such as facilitation, systems thinking, conflict de-escalation and resolution. Without that, it won’t matter that they can articulate the benefit of random shuffling the training dataset or distinguish decoupled weight decay regularization from vanilla versions of Adam and SGD. The truly successful projects and companies I have been associated with have both and balance them well.

Ps: The worst possible configuration is put the salesperson in charge. I worked for IBM when the head of the Watson business unit went around telling everyone that Watson was like “magic” (yes he used that word) and that it could “learn on its own” which of course made for difficult conversations when we then had to tell customers either that their objective was unachievable or would take years and 10’s of millions

Thanks for your explanation ai_curious. I was wondering something similar. I am a perfumer with ideas on how AI could be applied in R&D in the cosmetics industry and I would like to develop my skills in order to take an AI project management role in the future. This course is my starting point. After this I will study project management. Any recommendations as to what would be a reliable and recognised course tobe successful in my enterprise?

Thanks a lot! And thanks for the initial question and for opening up this discussion, Mahaa_Irshad.

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The short answer is ‘no’ I don’t know where a person starting out today would learn about software project management. Early in my career I was influenced by the work of Watts Humphrey Watts Humphrey - Wikipedia who revolutionized software development processes first at IBM, and later through his work at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon: Much of this work was not specifically AI aware, however more recently the SEI has studied the unique challenges of incorporating data and machine learning into software. I found this link to a paper from Microsoft discussing their lessons learned: Software Engineering for Machine Learning: A Case Study - Microsoft Research

If you are not from a software development background, you might benefit from a search like this: software engineering team model - Google Search

It will lead you to ideas about development team roles and organizing to transform business ideas into operational software capabilities. The project manager serves to tame the technical team’s insatiable appetite for time and money while channeling them to deliver capabilities of value to the business. A good project manager should understand enough about both constituencies to ensure a mutually satisfying outcome.

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