The Evolution of Project Management

Essay by chneohUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2009

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IntroductionIn the early 1970s it was stated in the project management community that "project management is the accidental profession." This statement has been quoted many times since, with all the implications that a discovery had been made and a new profession had been defined in the late twentieth century. Recognition of project management as a discipline and the use of this management approach have varied over several thousands of years.

The treatment of the subject of projects and project management in this chapter encompasses several thousands of years where evidence exists to demonstrate that projects were used to change and advance societies and that some form of project management was needed to ensure favorable conversion of resources to the benefit of these societies. The selection of examples of projects reported in this chapter is made based on available artifacts, literature, and other evidence reflecting a high degree of understanding and sophistication in effecting change through planned actions.

For centuries, project management has been used in some rudimentary form to create change or deal with change in societies. Change in a positive sense is caused by the application of management action that results in the consumption of resources to create a desired product, service, or organizational process. Change also may be meeting uncertain situations to identify and implement actions to obtain the most favorable outcome. Project management, in whatever form, has been used for centuries to plan for, implement, and meet change.

The general management discipline, although practiced in some form in antiquity, emerged as an explicit discipline in the twentieth century. It was during this period that concepts, philosophies, principles, processes, tools, and techniques began to appear in literature that reflects the intellectual framework found in the management of contemporary organizations. Yet a form of general management existed in antiquity...