Research Paper: Evolution of Project Management

Pages: 38 (9559 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 28  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Business - Management  ·  Buy This Paper

ADDENDUM:

PROJECT Management EVOLUTION

"Archetypically, Apollo manifests as an image of the modern project manager-one who works well within the interior of her or his organization, moving effortlessly across and between horizontal boundaries, but does not adopt the necessities of power in order to move vertically"

(Henderson, Interpretation and Discussion Section ¶ 11).

History Confirms PROJECT Management's Value

Professions like architecture, engineering, medicine, economic, technology, astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, etc. all have their own well-documented history. As a professional architect, the researcher asserts that project management also deserves a relevant recount of its history. Since ancient times, people throughout the world have been building projects that enrich one's cultural heritage and have contributed to project management's remarkable, relevant evolution. The pyramids of Egypt and other structures bear witness of project management's accomplishments. The science of project management, a reportedly new label or term has been long practiced by ancient civilization.

The first event noted in the history of time illustrating project management occurred when God created the world in six days. Over time, the role of project management has proved to be critical in different companies worldwide. Contemporary companies continuously manage their practices and incorporate tradition, enabling them survive in the growing global competition. As they strive to become successful, companies perpetually implement projects and different measures to generate more profit and enhance their corporate value. In light of this vision, project management comprises a critical component in/for the organization's operations.

Project management, as a discipline, reportedly dates back to the Egyptian epoch. In the mid-1950, its use expanded to include contemporary complex projects. With the recognition of its ability to speed up processes, the project management system started to gain recognition in management practices (Azzopardi, N.d.). Project management refers to the ways one manages work to develop and implement an innovation or change in the company's existing operation. This may activities like planning the project and controlling the project activities as well as considerations relating to budget and time constraints required to finish the project on time as compliance to the requirements of the client or of the company.

The primary elements of the project management process include planning, scheduling, and control (Russell and Taylor). Other skills encompassed by the discipline of project management include an understanding of the interdependencies among people, technologies, budgets, and expectations. Project management also embraces the capacity to plan the project while maximizing productivity and encouraging and empowering others to properly execute particular plan stipulations. Most importantly, it involves a continuous process of reworking and tailoring the plan made to specific realities and unexpected realities which could occur during the execution of the project's process (Howes).

Project Management depicts the company's planned, carefully and thoroughly organized efforts to accomplish a one-time effort like the construction of a particular building or completion of a specific subject. Project management primarily aims to attain maximum productivity while entailing minimum participation. It also includes the need of humans for a management system, optimal enough to trigger a more effective workforce to have a product and management system to engender the success of the business.

As a discipline among major companies, some perceive modern project management as a well understood discipline capable of producing repetitive and predictable results. The methods employed today in project management, however, are analytic and usually require automated tools. Learning the discipline of project management requires the investment of time in both the methods of practice and study. The practices in project management, evident since ancient times, formed the framework and techniques project managers now routinely use in these modern times.

Contemporary project management comprises a critical component not only among industry practitioners, but also to a myriad of individuals involved in extraordinary as well as ordinary day-to-day activities. The concepts contributing to project management, which evolved from ancient practices, like those Apollo used, help ensure that workers complete each phase of the venture to properly carry out projects efficiently in a timely manner. With the help of project management techniques, passed down through the ages, operations result into the production of better outputs.

The definition of project management depicts the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements (PMBOK Guide). In light of this concept and to support the premise of the study, the researcher created and addresses the following four relevant research questions, which simultaneously serve to guide the process of gathering data and conducting the research process.

1. What knowledge and skills did past civilizations apply to project activities to satisfy project requirements?

2. What techniques and tools did past civilizations apply to project activities to comply with project requirements?

3. What project activities as well as their requirements do samples of past civilizations portray?

4. How did various phenomena and changes in different times of history lead to the development of modern project management Gantt and Fayol formulated?

The study focuses on the evolution of project management from the earliest time to the turn of 20th century, just before Henry Gantt and Henri Fayol, the two forefathers of modern project management. The following four sections depict the organization of the start of the study.

I. Introduction

II. Definitions and Explanations

II. Statement of the Problem and Hypothesis

III. Aims and Objectives of Study

In the quest for credible answers to the paper's research questions to arrive at significant findings, the researcher traces numerous historical details which indicate the evolution of project management. The research questions support the study's hypothesis which asserts: Significant events in the earlier times have led to the development of modern project management.

Ancient Knowledge and Skills

Extraordinary examples of ancient projects, exhibiting the skills project managers in the past, include the majestic pyramids, ancient cities, great cathedrals and mosques, the Great Wall of China and numerous other wonders of the world. During the third millennium B.C., unknown project managers watched worker position and secure stones together to construct the great pyramids of Cheops. In the book, Project management for business and engineering: Principles and practice. John M. Nicholas, asserts that even though much of the technology the ancient Egyptians used to build pyramids such as these remains a mystery, the enormity and quality of the finished product continues to amaze those who view the marvelous construction. Nicholas notes:

Despite the lack of sophisticated machinery, [the Egyptians] were able to raise and fit some 2,3000,000 stone blocks, weighing two to 70 tons apiece, into a structure the height of a modern 40-story building. Each facing stone was set against the next with an accuracy of .04-inch, and the base, which covers 13 acres, deviates less than 1 inch from level.

Equally as staggering was the number of workers involved. To quarry the styles and transport them down the Nile, about 100,000 laborers were levied. In addition, 40,000 skilled masons in attendance were employed in preparing and laying the blocks and erecting or dismantling the ramps. Public works were essential to keep the working population employed in Fayette, and it is estimated that no less than 150,000 women and children also had to be housed and fed. (Nicholas p. 2)

Contemporary project management does not dramatically differ from project management that managers used hundreds or perhaps even thousands of years ago; even when Noah built the ark or when "project managers" designed and built medieval castles. In the book, Project management jumpstart, Kim Heldman contends that even though project managers have access to a myriad of tools not available during ancient days, like computers and software planning tools, the core processes they employ today basically resemble those in the past. Typically in ancient civilizations, an individual, possibly the ruler of a kingdom with access to large amounts of money to design and complete his project recruited and hired project managers. In turn, project managers, considered experts, oversaw the entire building process. At times, when the completed project did not meet the owner's specifications, the project manager would be "beheaded."

In contemporary times, project managers are not literally beheaded when a project goes awry. Currently, however, as in the past, individuals and organizations use project management, "to accomplish non-recurring goals bound by time, place (or situation), resources, and particular scopes of work" (Henderson, ¶ 2). In the journal article, "Reflecting on Athens 2004: What We Can Learn about Modern Project Management from Ancient Olympian Archetypes," Linda S. Henderson reports that organizational hierarchies, structures, processes, and lines-of-authority do not bound project management as a discipline. A survey of members in the Organization Development and Change (OD&C) Division of the Academy of Management, conventionalize "project management as one of seven foundation skills within Organization Development" (Henderson, ¶ 1). The six additional foundation skills in OD comprise: Coaching skills, conceptualizing, collaborative working, interpersonal communication, presentation and education, problem-solving and using new technology.

Like project managers today, ancient project managers recorded detailed plans of/for their projects. During ancient days, however, the project managers sometimes inscribed their plans on stones. The evidence of these projects typically took… [END OF PREVIEW]

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