Project Management: History and Evolution

Project management, as we know it at present began to stretch its branches only a few decades ago, yet it was mounting around civilization from the beginning of history.

With an objective of maximum productivity with minimum participation, and to breed imagination into realism, human need for an optimal management system that can trigger workforce efficiency to yield product, that is predetermined and objectified was outlining a management system within the growth of human perception though out its evolution.

This stream of development in its respective path also had marked its course from its source, and events in its voyages were observed and registered in the pages of history.

Turning these pages, today we witness a simple endeavor to illustrate and analyze tasks through simple bar charts cultivated seed yesterday, and within a short span of time, it had grown to a gigantic tree of the project management industry we witness at present.

“Henry Gantt” is considered to be the forefather of project management, as his planning and organizing methods with the use of the “bar charts” as a project management tool recognizes him as the foremost precursor for contemporary project management practices employed today.

However, civilization was practicing an anonymous management system for accomplishing tasks carried out by them since the beginning of civilization; as today we can witness Pyramids, Roman structures, etc as one of most exceptional achievements human workforces had ever delivered.

To consider these massive project missions without any proper management scheme would be an unjust platform to write about today for our ancestors. The conception of project management was there in the womb of our civilization from the beginning, but its name is coined and structure is fabricated by our modern world.

As a discipline, project management has evolved from numerous diverse fields, including engineering, construction, military projects, etc. If we have to mark the date of identification for this management system then we need to start not before the industrial revolution, as this revolution sprouted a complex need of organizational management and interaction. The need of budget management, workforce utilization, demand and supply scaling, compels to develop the management system that was methodological and goal oriented.

Frederick Taylor, who introduced a scientific approach for understanding productivity measurement through performance leveling, led him as the father of scientific approaches in organizational management systems.

Moreover, his associate Henry Gantt’s use of the bar diagram as a gauging process for planning and controlling, acknowledged him as a father of project management tools.

But the 1950’s was marked as a date for the beginning of modern project management; as before the 50’s projects were managed only with the popular use of Gantt charts and informal tools and statistics.

Furthermore, the immediate launch of the Polaris submarine missile project to fulfill the need of the missile gap with Russia; the US Army systemized a “Program Evaluation and Review Technique” or PERT devised by Willard Fazar and the use of the “Critical Path Method” (CPM) a mathematical technique for management of complex projects, drives project management systems further with advances in scientific approaches.

In 1969, the Project Management Institute (PMI) was formed to professionalize and modernize through formalizing project management tools and techniques.

In addition, today with rapid technological advancement, thriving IT industries, and globalization, project management solutions are in demand throughout the world as a fundamental force to complete projects within a defined scope, time, and within cost constraints.

Management tasks, where few individuals use to manage and memorize before; now require advance systems and methodological approaches for organization decision-making and planning implementation.

At present ultra modern project management systems deliver innovative solutions and its management process possesses the latest tools and techniques, systems and schemes with scientific evidences and statistical explanations.