A Brief History of Project Management

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Here is a brief history of project management over the past 2500 years. If project management is defined as the act of assembling people to systematically achieve a shared goal, then it has existed since ancient history. Think of the Egyptians erecting the Great Pyramid of Giza or the first Emperor of China commanding the manual labor of millions to build the Great Wall of China. Despite new method developments and technology changes over time, project management has kept its core goal intact: to deliver successful projects in a clear and effective way.
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A Brief History OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT If project management is defined as the act of assembling people to systematically achieve a shared goal, then it has existed since ancient history. Think of the Egyptians erecting the Great Pyramid of Giza or the first Emperor of China commending the manual labor of millions to build the Great Wall of China. Despite new method developments and technology changes over time, project management has kept its core goal intact: to deliver successful projects in a clear and effective way. CREATIVE ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS AS PROJECT MANAGERS The Great Pyramid of Giza 2550 BC The man-made pyramid requires 20 years of labor and architects dedicated to each of the structure's four sides. The pyramid would become the first and only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to remain mostly intact. Emporer Qin Shi Huang orders the project's labor force to be organized into three groups: soldiers, civilians, and criminals. 206 BC The Great Wall of China Industrial Revolution 1750-1850 U.S. business leaders balance the management of both manual labor and mechanized manufacturing. Principal assistant $250 Chainmen $50 each Flagmen $35 each Transit man $150 Axemen $40 each Stakemen $35 each 1896 The Transcontinental Railroad One of America's greatest technological feats, the railroad that connects California to the eastern U.S. becomes one of the first government projects that requires large-scale project management by railroad pioneers. THE INTRODUCTION OF MODERN PROJECT MANAGEMENT 1896 Polish economist Karol Adamiecki creates the "harmonogram," a floating bar chart used to show tasks or resources laterally over time. It is limited to Polish speakers. JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 1 2 3 4 5 6 1912 Gantt Chart Engineer Henry Gantt develops the "Gantt Chart," a diagram that breaks down tasks into a clearly designed schedule structure. It was first used in World War I to help build ships; it was used again in 1931 for the Hoover Dam. It is still being applied in organizations today. U.S. Air Force General Bernard Schrieve coins the term "project management". 1954 D 5 A 2 C G 1 E 4 F 7 J 8 B 3 H 6 I 1956 AA CE The American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE International) is formed. Critical Path Method (C.P.M) 1957 DuPont and Remington Rand design this method, which calculates the activities required to complete a project and the duration of each phase, to manage chemical plant maintenance. The project saves the company $1 million in its first year of implementation. 2 20 4 20 8 10 10 1 10 7 9 10 11 5 3 5 6 15 5 6 1958 Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) Developed as part of the U.S. Navy's Polaris missile submarine program, the approach analyzes the task type and the minimum amount of time needed for each task. Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Aircraft System Air Vehicle Training Peculiar support equipment Receiver Fire Control Communication Equipment Services Depot Work Breakdown Structure (W.B.S.) 1962 The U.S. Department of Defense creates the method to break down projects into smaller components and organize them into hierarchial tree structures. The model focuses on what needs to be done - not the timeline for it. IPMA 1965 The International Management Systems Association (known today as the International Project Management Association) is founded in Europe. PMI 1969 The Project Management Institute (PMI) is launched to promote project management as its own discipline and profession. Professionals can receive specific certificates through its program, including Certified Associate in Project Management and Project Management Professional. Requirements Design Implementation Verification Maintenance 1970 Waterfall Method Winston Royce creates a model whereby each phase must be completed and perfected before moving onto the next. THE GROWTH OF SOFTWARE & APPS ARTEMIS ORACLE Scitor Project Management Software Emerges 1977 Several project management software companies emerge, including Artemis (1977), Oracle (1977), and Scitor Corporation (1979). 1986 Capability Maturity Software The Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie-Mellon University starts developing "Capability Maturity Software," a five-level evolutionary path of increasingly mature processes. 1988 The "Earned Value Management" approach - combining measurements of scope, schedule, and cost - is integrated into project management. 1996 PRINCE2 The seven-process PM system is widely used in the UK. Agile Project Management 2001 Created to manage complex software projects, this approach stresses adaptive planning and flexible response to change. 2006 Total Cost Management Although the concept of Total Cost Management has been around for a long time, the AACE develops a framework to control, eliminate, and reduce costs. It's used in all parts of the organization, including project management. Growth of SaaS-Based Project Management 2008 A new class of SaaS-based tools emerges, providing unprecedented flexibility for project managers and their teams. Project Management as an In-Demand Skill 2009 U.S. News names "project management" one of the top five in-demand skills that can lead to better job security. Cloud Helps Spur Growth of a Virtualized Workforce 2010 As cloud solutions allow access, virtual project teams will increase. CNNMoney reports that 30% of the U.S. job market is composed of independent virtualized workers. By 2019, it will grow to 40%. 2012 Mobile Applications HTML5 Mobile apps advance remote project management even further, allowing people to manage their projects any time and anywhere.