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Human-Led Collaboration with Machines


When charged with managing large and complex efforts, an overarching project management task is risk assessment. It involves documenting the current situation, comparing it to the past, and understanding the odds of the past repeating itself. Since the past may never repeat itself, however, an insightful project manager also imagines the odds of any possible future outcomes.  Then the odds of past outcomes repeating themselves and the odds of new future outcome are tempered with the PM’s possible actions.  Executing this repetitive and continuous process is just one area where human-machine collaboration can change the future.

Machines do repetitive tasks well. They have perfect recall. Their forte is being able to record and document what has happened and from that, interpolate what will happen. They correlate the past and calculate the likelihood that those things will happen again. They interpolate and calculate the odds of what will happen in the future.


Humans imagine things really well. While their recollection of the past can be flawed, their creativity can be breathtaking. They intuit and sometimes see things without those things actually being there. Even with these flaws though, they can apply imagination to the whitespaces of reality and change the future. Those uniquely human capabilities need cause and structure, a skill referred to as common sense reasoning. 


Since machines, so far, have been unable to exhibit an ability to use common sense reasoning, this observation becomes the heart of human-machine collaboration. Human-machine collaboration not only support risk-assessment tasks but can also help in:
  • Resource management
  • Prediction
  • Experimentation.

By augmenting human workers with machine intelligence, the project manager can gain access to more and different analysis. More robust analysis enables more informed decisions, the anticipation of dependencies, and better leadership. Improved leadership is also why leading organizations have reshaped the use of rapid analysis, flexible organizations, and team communication tools.

Cisco Webex Teams was developed to support this shift. Focused on bridging the gap between humans and machines, it uses human priorities to plan and schedule tasks. Webex Teams can also be used to document resource levels, record resource use, and alert humans should any previously set limits be breached. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, this collaborative tool can even provide schedule and planning option predictions.

By enabling human-machine collaboration, Cisco Webex Teams not only sets a rapid pace towards the future but delivers some of that future today by:
  • Bringing team members together more easily through advanced messaging capabilities and content sharing.
  • Enhancing productivity during team-based meetings by allowing anyone in a space to schedule, start, and record meetings that can include up to 75 video users.
  • Providing the capability to share a whiteboard application or use Cisco Webex Board’s all-in-one wireless presentation, digital whiteboarding, and video conferencing functionalities.
  • Calling team members using the app, an IP phone, or a conference-room video device.
  • Reducing meeting setup friction with integrations to streamline workflows and bots to automate additional actions.

Cisco Webex Teams enables human-led machine collaboration, a partnership in which humans set the strategy and machines execute the tactics.

This post is brought to you by Cisco and IDG. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Cisco. 






Cloud Musings
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More Stories By Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson, founder of the GovCloud Network, is an independent technology and business consultant specializing in mission critical solutions. He has served in various senior management positions including VP & GM Cloud Services NJVC, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and VP Program Management Office at JP Morgan Chase. His formal education includes MSEE (Computer Engineering), MA National Security & Strategic Studies and a BS Aerospace Engineering. Jackson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1979 and retired from the US Navy earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Airborne Logistics and Airborne Command and Control. He also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide. Kevin is the founder and author of “Cloud Musings”, a widely followed blog that focuses on the use of cloud computing by the Federal government. He is also the editor and founder of “Government Cloud Computing” electronic magazine, published at Ulitzer.com. To set up an appointment CLICK HERE

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