History of Project Management at the Dawn Essay

Pages: 25 (6401 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 40  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Architecture

History of project management at the dawn of civilization can be looked at from two different civilisations -- Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. In this section both of these civilsations will be looked at from the perspective of cconstruction technology, architectural design, culture, science, economics, labour, and management, which all led to the creation of the master builder. The first ancient societies arose in Mesopotamia and Egypt in the Middle East. These civilisations had certain features in common. They built cities, invented forms of writing, learned to make pottery and use metals, domesticated animals, and created fairly complex social structures that included class systems.

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 to say the least. Civilisation has long been practicing an anonymous management system for accomplishing tasks carried out by them since the beginning of time. Today we can witness Pyramids and Roman structures, as one of most exceptional achievements human workforces had ever delivered. The concept of project management has always been around in the womb of our civilisation from the beginning, but its name has been coined and structured by our modern world.

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Societies worked in terms of adaptation to an external environment, since the internal dynamics in any society as its members seek to meet multiple objectives lead to social and cultural innovations. As society as a whole coped with innovations, its pre-existing relationships with it resources often changed. This evolutionary development, which was not unilinear, gradual, or universal, has been marked by a major transformation in the way societies managed their resources and prospered.

4.1.3 Conclusion

TOPIC: Essay on History of Project Management at the Dawn Assignment

A basic scan of the notable achievements of ancient builders at the dawn of civilisation reveals some of the most significant structures in human history. Among these is the Great Ziggurat of Ur, the Tower of Babylon, the Hanging Gardens, the Great Pyramid at Giza, These structures came out of the Mesopotamian, Egyptian civilisations as enduring monuments which had irrepressible effects on the history of architecture. All of these structures have been analysed in this research project. Most of them are still standing today. None of them could have been completed without the separation of responsibilities and the advanced skills required for design, engineering, construction, and project management.

The conclusions reached in this research demonstrate that this era of project activities was foundational for all that followed. In it, the very concept of the master builder was created, along with the first surviving monuments that archaeology can still study. The history reveals the kinds of changes that took place in construction, management, and technology as a result of cultural and scientific pressures. What follows will sketch some of these important conclusions and evaluate the impact of these changes on project activities.

Prior to classical antiquity, humans built upon the knowledge and traditions of the previous period. For the ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians, it is impossible to know what these previous traditions were, since with these civilisations recorded history begins. It is clear with these early civilisations, however, that earlier knowledge from other cultures was sought out, accumulated, systematised, and applied. This intellectual growth produced many enhancements to life in general, and to project management and the construction of buildings specifically.

The basic elements of thinking and reasoning were developed by the earliest civilisations through the study of mathematics, written communication, law, medicine, production optimisation, astronomy, and science. For example, the Mesopotamians created a theory of disease epidemiology, while the Egyptians formed the first alphabet. Many of these discoveries and achievements helped to produce both tangible and intangible infrastructures around which society organized itself, such as the concept of calendar time based on astronomy and mathematics. Without such intellectual advancements, building and organisational programs would not have been possible.

There were many other significant developments in ancient culture that influenced and extended the idea of labour and resource management. The Mesopotamians used written codes and laws to organise their society and economic system, applying these in addition to their understanding of the natural world and the gods who controlled it. Control was introduced through written codes used to manage daily relationships and business transactions. Ancient Egypt expanded management to include the planning and implementation of vast undertakings such as the pyramids. The Egyptians developed methods for planning, organising, and managing the decision-making process on such large projects. This evidence suggests that management and social organisation were thought out in ancient society, rather than being merely based on haphazard processes. Given this environment, project management could be expected to follow similar principles, since it was culturally rooted in other areas of life such as law, politics, communication, and economics.

Through the ages of early civilisation, construction techniques, tools, and materials likewise evolved. The Mesopotamians used mud-bricks to build homes and buildings with columns, domes, and arches. Later on they invented tar to reinforce the brick structures and provide waterproofing, which, combined with drainage systems, made their monuments and homes more durable. Such permanence was necessary given the change from a nomadic society to a sedentary agricultural society that lived in stable clusters. This facilitated the need for civil engineering and the use of the wheel and the pump for the transportation of water.

Around the same time, ancient Egypt contributed new construction methodologies such as quarrying and the ramp. Quarrying led to stone such as granite and limestone replacing mud bricks. The ramp allowed buildings to expand in height and mass. Egypt also introduced a distinction between craftsmen and engineers. Within this trajectory it becomes clear how evolving technology responds to the needs of early human society. It shows further how changes in knowledge, social organisation, and managerial practises influenced the tools, technology, and materials used for construction.

In turn, the tools, technology, and materials available altered the role of the master builder, the project management, and the structures that were built. During these periods the master builder was the architect, the engineer, and the builder all in one role. Craftsmen worked with the master builder to improve and hone their skills. The master builder engineered tools to improve the transportation of materials to the work site. Additionally, the role of master builder was beginning to emphasise architectural skills over other skills. This was the beginning of the separation of architect from builder, but it was not complete.

The projects constructed during pre-classical antiquity increased in size, purpose, and complexity from their respective previous ages. Mesopotamian culture began the evolution of construction with the development of ziggurats and bridges. The Egyptians created the pyramids as resting places for their kings. This progressive increase in the size, sophistication, and intricacy of construction projects reflects the progressive growth of architectural tools, materials, and technology.

Project management in the context of this research is defined as the successful use of material and human resources to construct a building. In the ancient world, project managers operated with limited tools to mine and shape materials, and limited technologies to transport and utilise those materials. Therefore projects spanned many lifetimes. Often the original purpose of the building changed as the leadership of the empires changed also. The design of the building altered as master builders retired or as new techniques and tools were created. The master builder was always responsible for the design and supervision of building construction. He created tools and machines to reduce the build time. He knew that his labour force would need to be replenished on a continual basis; therefore, he needed to orchestrate the transfer of learning and skills between the generations.

The role of master builder was crucial in society. His design and building work expressed the religious and national values of the civilisation. The ziggurat shrines, the pyramidal tombs, and the temples were all instantiations of the belief systems that guided daily life. In addition, there were more secular buildings such as palaces, assembly halls, amphitheatres, and gardens that expressed the cultural pride and ancestral heritage of each civilisation. All of them rose out of the aesthetic influences of their cultures and the deeply held worldviews associated with agrarian life or empire alike. As master builders perfected their arts, construction expanded from homes and religious structures to include infrastructures that facilitated the transportation of people, raw materials, and water. The creation of these infrastructures improved life for all. The master builder was the leader of this improvement and the director of cultural and national expression.

The study of early Mesopotamian architecture is possible because of archaeological substantiation, which consists of pictorial depictions of structures, and texts on structures. Scholarly text often looks at temples, palaces, city walls and gates, and other colossal buildings. The area of Mesopotamia is thought to be the cradle of civilization, because of the fact that it is one of the first confirmable areas… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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