It is important to know and understand the fundamentals of Project management and its development because it provides an organization with powerful tools that increase its capacity to plan, implement, and control its activities, as well as how it employs its people and resources. Project management is used to improve the efficiency of a business or project.
“The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities in order to meet the project requirements” (Project Management Institute, 2013).
PERIODICAL DEVELOPMENT OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Project management has been practiced for as long as humanity has been on Earth. There are several examples in history of difficult projects that were completed despite all of the complications and uncertainties that may have caused the project to fail. Many of these projects necessitated a massive staff, a broad scope of work, many years of effort, advanced planning, and exact execution. Regrettably, despite their colossal achievements, there is extremely little documentation of their methods and procedures. Organizations did not begin to use systematic tools and processes to complicated projects until the 1950s. The United States Navy helped to develop and document the concepts of current project management methodology and practices. Other notable initiatives, such as the Manhattan project, significantly contributed to the creation of conventional methods in modern project management.
During the 1960s, ambitious projects like putting a man on the moon aided in the development and application of tools for managing large-scale projects. In the 1970s, technological advances enabled the development of project management software by software companies such as Oracle. When PCs became more inexpensive in the 1980s, businesses began to employ computers for project management. The development of significant project management tools such as PRINCE2 and CCPM began in the 1990s. Academia began giving degrees in project management in the third millennium. Furthermore, project management theories, tools, and practices are now widely used in a wide range of companies and industries. With the looming prospect of limited resources and an aging population, there is no better vehicle for dealing with such issues than project management.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN ANCIENT HISTORY
Humans have been working on projects since prehistoric times. Throughout history, brilliant architects and engineers have created magnificent structures such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Great Wall of China, the Coliseum, Babylon’s hanging gardens, and Stonehenge, to mention a few. Those architects and engineers were doing their principal functions as engineers and architects, as well as project managers. For these projects to succeed, these engineers who had become project managers had to carefully consider all of the project’s procedures, from the initiation and planning phases through the execution and monitoring phases, all the way to the project’s completion.
For each of these projects, someone had to supervise hundreds to thousands of people over several years, ensure there was adequate supply to support the project, ensure the project stayed on track, and, of course, the end result had to meet the commander’s expectations.
THE START OF MODERN PROJECT MANAGEMENT
There appears to be no consensus as to when contemporary project management began. Various authors have presented differing perspectives on how and when contemporary project management began. This presentation will highlight the various perspectives on the beginning of contemporary project management. In this work, he provides an overview of the History of Project Management:
From the Beginnings to the Year 1900, Y. C. Chiu says that Henri Foyal and Henry Gantt were the forerunners of Project Management (Chiu Y., 2010). While some may argue with this assertion, many will admit that both Fayol and Gantt have made major contributions to the field of management. Henri Fayol (1841-1925) worked as an engineer in an iron and steel industry in France. The firm was the largest in France and played a critical role in arming the French army in the decade leading up to World War I. Fayol effectively led the company for several years, during which time he became increasingly interested in management issues (Witzel, 2003).
According to Y. C. Chiu, Henry Gantt was the second predecessor of modern project management. Henry Gantt (1861-1919) was an American engineer who later worked as a management consultant. He is most well-known for inventing the Gantt chart. Gantt charts are important in the history of modern project management because they realize the benefits of breaking large projects down into smaller, more manageable jobs. They also take into account the fact that some tasks may be dependent on one another. Gantt charts are still in use today and are regarded as an essential tool in the toolbox of a project manager.
Project Management appeared and came to be because of some societal attributes, there are certain characteristics that mandated the emergence and necessity for project management, they will be discussed in the next outline.
CAUSAL FACTORS THAT LED TO THE EMERGENCE OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT
1. The exponential increase in human knowledge
2. The growing demand for a broad range/variant of goods and services.
3. The evolution of worldwide competitive markets for the production and consumption of goods and services.
4. Intense competition among institutions.
EXPANSION OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE
It allows an increasing number of academic disciplines to be used in solving problems associated with the development, production and distribution of goods and services.
SATISFYING CONSUMER COMPLEX DEMANDS
This depends on our ability to make product design an integrated and inherent part of our production and distribution systems.
WORLDWIDE MARKET FORCE
We must include cultural and environmental differences in our managerial decisions about what, where, when, and how to produce and distribute the output.
INTENSE COMPETITIONS AMONG INSTITUTIONS
Whether for-profit and not for profit, fostered by our economic system resulting in organizational “crusades” such as “total quality control,” “supply chain management” and particularly prominent these days (Six Sigma). Due to this factor, there is pressure for the demands to be met faster.
Requisite knowledge does not live in any one individual, no matter how well educated or knowledgeable. Thus, under these conditions, teams are used for making decisions and acting. This calls for an elevated level of coordination and cooperation between groups of people not particularly used to such interaction.
Project management is essential because when tending to complex demands, traditional organizational structures might not function well with the task.
Project Management | Article by Morenike Adeniran