- The ideal leader for an artificial intelligence product should have the right mix of technical skills, subject matter expertise and an project management skills, said Ehsan Yousefzadeh, product manager of artificial intelligence at AIG Investments, speaking at The AI Summit in New York Wednesday.
- "The goal of the product manager is to take a product team with strong AI technical experience [which] might have little subject matter expertise, and the stakeholders who have a lot of subject matter expertise but have little to no AI technical expertise, and start pushing both spheres closer together," said Yousefzedeh.
- AI projects with the highest success rates will put those two groups closer together as the technology is developed. But the strategy must be carried out by AI leaders focused on the roadmap toward a desired business outcome.
The tech skills gap is one of the hurdles that stands between enterprise and widespread AI adoption. That crunch only gets tighter when it comes to leadership roles like product managers.
For enterprise leaders, building the technology and cobbling together a team able to carry out its objective is just the beginning. A leadership figure must act as a bridge between technical and non-technical teams involved with the project.
"Someone that has an entrepreneurial drive is a must," said Yousefzadeh, in an interview with CIO Dive, describing the ideal product manager. "You have to have someone who's able to lead a product team, carry out that vision, be able to get to a destination."
The ability to keep a big picture approach might not be readily present in the rest of the team, which is why it's up to the product managers to stay focused on the end goal.
Industry watchers expect the influence of AI to reshape business in the coming decade, particularly as access to the tools becomes democratized and advanced analytics give business processes a boost.
But that transformation won't happen by itself. Without leaders who have subject matter expertise, Yousefzadeh said, there will likely be a disconnect between the technology and those who are meant to use it.