Exploring trends and developments
in project management today
History of Project Management
How Project Management Developed
The 1950s marked the beginning of the modern project management era, prior to then projects were managed on an ad-hoc basis using mostly informal techniques and tools.
In this brief history of project management, I chart all the major developments and events in the discipline as far back as there are records. Although there has been some form of project management since early civilisation, project management in the modern sense began in the 1950s. We have come a long way since then and recognition of how important the profession is has helped it develop, and will continue to push its development over the next decade.
As a discipline project management developed from different fields of application including construction, engineering, telecommunications, and defence. The 1950s marked the beginning of the modern project management era. Prior to the 1950s, projects were managed on an ad-hoc basis using mostly Gantt charts, or with informal techniques and tools. This article looks at four periods in the development of modern project management.
The importance of project management is an important topic because all organisations, be they small or large, at one time or other, are involved in implementing new undertakings. These undertakings may be diverse, such as, the development of a new product or service; the establishment of a new production line in a manufacturing enterprise; a public relations promotion campaign; or a major building programme. Whilst the 1980's were about quality and the 1990's were all about globalisation, the 2000's are about velocity.
Could the Crusades have been launched and the soldiers armed and fed without effective project management? Could the Great Wall have been built with ingenious natural materials and a team of millions over a span of a thousand years without project management? It is possible to say that the concept of project management has been around since the beginning of history. It has enabled leaders to plan bold and massive projects and manage funding, materials and labour within a designated time frame. What leaders from the distant past managed to accomplish is amazing and without the project management tools available today.
It's true to say the public sector has hardly covered itself in glory with their ability to deliver projects on time, within budget and scope and to the right quality. PROMPTII, PRINCE and PRINCE2 were all introduced to address the common causes of project failure.