February 13, 2008 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: History
History of Project Management - How Did We Get Here?
By Daiv Russell
Project management in its present form began to take root a few decades ago. In the early 1960s, industrial and business organizations began to understand the benefits of organizing work around projects. They understood the critical need to communicate and integrate work across multiple departments and professions. That was how the project management really took off.
In late 19th century, due to the rising complexities of the business world, it evolved more effectively from management principles. Large-scale government projects played a big role in major decision making. They were called as management decisions. Big projects involved thousands of workers, huge quantity of materials and bulk quantity of machinery and equipment.
Business organizations wanted to apply some powerful techniques so that the labor, material, and machinery were effectively used to give maximum results. In early 20th century, Frederick Taylor analyzed work patterns and behavior and found out that better methods can increase the productivity considerably. This type of analysis is now known as time and motion study. Time and motion can suggest better methods to reduce labor and material costs. Taylor was dubbed the “father of scientific management”.
Henry Gantt studied the order of work operations in great detail. He developed the eponymous chart which details the progress of effort in large projects. Gantt charts had become popular and have been used ever since their introduction in the 1920’s. It was easier to complete projects as the chart helped to check the scheduled times and dependencies between tasks.
Taylor, Gantt, and a many notable others helped evolve management into a distinct business function that requires study and discipline. After a few decades, marketing approaches, industrial psychology, and human relations became the integral parts of business management. In the mid-20th century, PERT charts and Critical Paths Methods were introduced. Seeing their usefulness, many organizations, including the military, began to use these techniques. They are popular even now.
Project management today has a different shape than at the onset. It now views a business as a human organism. Therefore, it implies that in order for a business to survive and prosper, all of its functional parts should work in concert toward specific goals, or projects. In the following decades, it began to evolve into modern forms which are prevailing now all over the world. The general concept is a project is managed by a project manager who has overarching responsibility for its accomplishment. The project manager assembles the necessary team. He organizes and co-ordinates the whole show to get optimal results in terms of productivity and profits and, ultimately, deliver the project to completion - on time and on budget.
Daiv Russell is a marketing and management consultant with Envision Consulting in Tampa, Florida. Consult these resources to learn more about Project Management Basics, Choosing an Online Project Management Course, and How to draw a Gantt Diagram.
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