Project Management: History and Impact of Technology in its modernization and its future
By VIKEN SHAH
Long before there was an institute for project management, or updated knowledge books and guides on how to manage projects, or even before the existence of Gantt charts, history offers
several examples of colossal projects successfully completed. The Pyramids of Giza, Great Wall
of China, and Coliseum are all good examples of such projects.
Project Management, at its core, is concerned with creating an environment where people can work together to achieve a mutual objective, to deliver successful projects on time and on budget. Throughout the history of humanity, humans have been working on improving and refining the practices of project management. The goal of this paper is to present the evolution of project management since ancient times until present times and its outlook in the future by outlining major events and developments throughout history.
In this paper, we will discuss the evolution of Project Management by studying the history of project management. Meanwhile we will also explore the impact of technology and innovation during this transformation as well as how it influenced the better methodologies and tools to improve the project management techniques. Apart from this we will also throw light on how in future technology can change the project management techniques.
Keywords: Project, Management, Technology, History, Future, Advancement, Methodology.
Chapter One: Introduction & Time-Line
When people verbalize about the history of project management, it is quite mundane for the Egyptian Pyramids (or the like) to be exampled as early historical projects. But there is rather widespread accidence that what could be validly called modern project management had its genesis in the 1950s. In the ensuing years, many distinctive project management implements, techniques and concepts have been, and are being, developed – concretely as the areas of application of project-predicated management have been proliferating so widely. This short history of modern project management fixates on mainstream issues and developments in the past forty-aberrant years. It withal endeavors to identify emerging trends in concepts and practices in project management at the time of inciting (1994).
Project Management Time – Line:
Project management has been around for thousands of years and was involved in the planning, coordination, and construction of the Ancient Wonders of the World.
Today’s project management has grown to include industries such as energy production sectors and construction efforts. Let’s look at the history of project management and how it’s grown and changed over the centuries.
The Great Pyramid of Giza Completed
Construction of the Great Wall of China
The Gantt Chart developed by Henry Gantt
Hoover Dam Project
The American Association of Cost Engineers (now AACE International) Formed.
The Critical Path Method (CPM) Invented by the Dupont Corporation
The Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) Invented for the U.S. Navy’s Polaris Project
United States Department of Defense Mandate the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Approach.
The International Project Management Association (IPMA) Founded.
Project Management Institute (PMI) Launched to Promote the Project Management Profession.
PROMPTII Method Created by Simpact Systems Limited.
The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering by Fred Brooks
Theory of Constraints (TOC) Introduced by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt in his Novel “The Goal”
Scrum Named as a Project Management Style
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Published by PMI
Earned Value Management (EVM) Leadership Elevated to Under-secretary of Defense for Acquisition
PRINCE Method Developed From PROMPTII
CHAOS Report First Published
PRINCE2 Published by CCTA
Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) Invented
PMBOK Becomes an ANSI Standard
The Agile Manifesto Written
Total Cost Management Framework Release by AACE International
Major PRINCE2 Revision by Office of Government Commerce (OGC)
ISO 21500:2012 Guidance on Project Management
Chapter 2: Technology and its impact on Project Management
How Technology has changed the Project Management?
From the invention of Computer in year 1836 and further development of it into programmable computer in year 1938 modernized the human’s way of working and performing duties. Not only computer but also the invention of Internet in 1983 and its recognizable Online World in 1990 has developed ease to the human’s duties not only in day to day life but also in their office environment. From providing all the information at one touch to the interactive artificial intelligence robots. But this technology innovations have not only provided a ease to the human’s but also helped to ease many Organizational Processes and Functions.
If we consider the traditional approaches of project managers, they used to work and maintain records manually as well as sharing of information among the team was very tedious and problematic. Maintaining all the records of the project for longer period was also a huge problem. Not only this but communication between each team members and organizational hierarchy was difficult due to which the time taken for the project was very high.
But innovation and invention of technology has made it possible for the projects to run smoothly by single manager at low cost and low time by tracking all the information related to project at one touch. Not only this but also using software’s to develop analytical reports and charts to track the projects pathways and progress. Let us look at some major points where technology has eased the Project Management:
1. Constant Connectivity
The evolution of cloud computing, mobile applications and social media is changing the way teams interact and exchange information. These tools help spread work throughout the day because you can answer a question or share a document at anytime, anywhere.
In my opinion, project managers need to know technical processes to successfully lead a team. My suggestion is to practice, practice, practice. Start with the basics of a new technology and build your knowledge over time with new features.
2. Seamless Workflow
Project management software integration is the top tech trend impacting the future for project managers. These ubiquitous environments are making seamless workflow management possible. For example, AtTask, an online work management software, already integrates with popular project management products such as Microsoft SharePoint and Outlook, Atlassian JIRA and ProofHQ. When everything speaks the same language, and happens in real time, you have a game-changer in how teams collaborate.
Project managers need to keep up as software continues to evolve. Hiring managers, companies and clients are increasingly expecting tech-savvy project managers. For this reason, the ability to adapt and learn new systems and technologies quickly is a skill project manager must master to succeed in the future.
3. Cloud Vulnerability
Cloud computing and the security implications associated with it will alter the way IT projects are managed. With data on the cloud, there will always be vulnerabilities. As more and more breaches occur, data owners will want more direct control over the data than they currently have. The actual, physical protection of data now falls almost exclusively on the shoulders of the companies storing the data, while legal responsibility for its protection remains with the “owning” organization. We’re likely to see additional leaps in securing data remotely.
We have no way of knowing what the next technological breakthrough will be, however. But regardless of what the future holds, tech trends will almost certainly impact how we manage projects. There are no tricks for keeping up: You just have to keep your nose in the tech world.
4. Various Tools for Varied Stakeholders
Collaboration, mobility and social networking are some of the tech trends increasingly responding to a dynamic and changing world, not just within teams but also among stakeholders. Collaboration tools support groups working together to accomplish a specific task. Mobility allows those groups to collaborate from anywhere. Social networks allow people to build stronger personal ties.
But project managers should be careful when identifying the proper channel to reach stakeholders. To allow people to interact in ways they are most comfortable with, use a variety of tools such as instant messages, phone calls, web conferences, online forums, wikis, and whiteboard and document collaboration tools. Always keep in mind which tools have been approved by stakeholders’ organizations before choosing one to support a project.
Also remember that stakeholder buy-in to specific collaborative tools will vary depending on each tool’s usability. Whatever the big tech trends of the moment, a project manager’s ability to sell the benefits of the appropriate communication and IT tools has a direct bearing on the project outcome.
5. Unite Virtual Teams
Using the Internet to communicate between virtual teams around the world is increasingly part of the technological future of organizations. In this project-heavy world, many global teams comprise members from several countries speaking different languages and working in different cultural environments.
To keep communications precise between virtual, multicultural teams, projects I’ve worked on have adopted clear technology standards. These have included establishing English as the common language and using Skype for video conferencing and screen sharing. To help bridge language gaps, team members took free online or paid courses.
6. Sensing the Future
One of the top tech trends of 2015, the Internet of Things, is rooted in sensors: the little pieces of technology that gather, monitor and transmit data from a parking spot, refrigerator or coffeemaker. The growing investment in these sensors indicates how much and how fast the Internet of Things will impact the project landscape. For more on the Internet of Things, check out the November 2014 issue of PM Network.
· 20 percent of companies are investing in sensors, compared to 17 percent in 2013.
· 54 percent of top performing organizations said they plan to invest more in sensors in 2015.
· 14 percent of respondents said sensors would be of the highest strategic importance to their organizations in the next 3 to 5 years.
7. Reducing time and saving money:
With these apps at work, work has never been faster and more efficient. Technology has helped projects reduce the time they spend on working for the project. It has also significantly reduced the cost it would take to get the job done. With these devices and apps that make the job easier, businesses begin to realize savings that are in turn diverted to other areas of the business.
Time and funds are barely only a result of hardware technology advancements. Having access to information within seconds (via something called Google) and the world’s largest encyclopedia reduces research time by the hours every working day.
There are applications that also helped streamline the organization for redundancies.
8. Paperless operation:
Nowadays, cloud computing has made it possible for storage of large chunks of information which obviates the need for printouts. Rather than sending printed reports, now an organization can share digital files with the members of the organization.
With the emergence of PDF editors and digital signature software solutions, companies can conclude deals faster and shorten sales cycles.
9. Safety and Security is paramount:
It can be said that with these latest gadgets, applications or software solutions, a workplace has never been safer and more secure. However, this is more a matter of perspective than a factual statement. Cyber threats and even the cyber-terrorism emergence have established themselves as real threats to businesses worldwide.
Large corporations are still hesitating towards moving their resources to the cloud solutions provided by major industry players such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, mainly due to security concerns. However, serious steps have been made in this direction, and even though 2015 did not live up to the expectations, there are serious indicators that the adoption of cloud storage services will continue.
10. Bring own device to work trend:
As mentioned above, employees now have access to project related files from every device. The seamless integration between desktop, web and mobile devices gave birth to a trend which really bloomed in 2015, referred to as “BYOD” or “bring your own device” to work trend. This is a major transformation with both a variety of positives and negatives to bring to the table.
The positives include supercharged collaboration, insanely quick information gathering and sharing. Many argue that this trend leads to a higher productivity in the workplace.
However, there are several precaution steps your company needs to take to ensure the BYOD trends does not harm your company in any way including:
· Implementing a MDM (Mobile Device Management) software in your environment to enable surveillance of all mobile devices in your company.
· Implement a policy in your company to make sure everyone has guidelines to behave among.
· Train your employees, and inform them about the dangers if their mobile device falls into the wrong hands.
Chapter 3: Future of Project Management under influence of Technology Change
Future of Project Management:
The future of project management is a topic, interest not only to current but also would-be project managers, but to everybody who is involved in some way in project management. You don’t have to be an expert to predict that technology will shape the future of project management.
Project management is an applied science which does not have a physical dimension. But it does have a dimension governed by the factors of managerial and computational skills and those of budgeting such in Earned Value Management but what’s the future of project management?
A project is essentially a process that leads to completion of a product, service or goal within certain parameters of time, resources, and budget. There have been projects for as long as man has been in existence. Whether it was cave paintings, building the Pyramids or the Taj Mahal, or even sending a man to the moon, each of these was a project. In the earlier days, projects also had to be managed to be completed, but there was no distinctive management process that was identified, or even a recognition that such processes were at work
It is only in the last couple of decades that project management has been recognized as a science that can be identified as one, taught as a science, and applied as a science. Its application in almost all spheres of life and activities has led to its quick development. Its impact will increase as time goes on, and it’s time we discuss its future. Project management is now applicable to activities that do not have a physical dimension to their completion, and are limited to only the thinking process – i.e. you can apply the principles of project management even if you are not producing goods (or providing services) that have a tangible physical form.
What Does the Future of Project Management Look Like?
A typical manager’s view of projects is to complete a task within the time and resources available, all of which are within his or her control. Stakeholders, however, view a project as a goal to be achieved. The trick is to bridge the two points of view.
The electronic revolution will play a very big role in how projects are monitored and executed, and technology will seriously impact the future of project management. Accountability within teams on a project will increase with each team member having to monitor himself/herself while executing a project and its delivery.
Power within a project will be shared and skills needed for a project need to be available to all its members from a shared pool. It is quite likely that within a project, the leaders for each step or aspect of the project will change depending on the skills or capabilities of the participants in the project (i.e. you will be a leader for the steps where your competencies are sufficient and a team member for all the other steps) or the needs of the project at that particular time.
Project Management and Technology in the Future
In future, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is expected to help in Project Control Process. Using the historical data and feeding them to the computers programmed to find the analytic report mentioning the failures and success parameters of projects.
Tracking of project scope, performance, progress, cost and budget, schedule would be easy. Not only this it will help in providing more information of methodologies to be used on the basis of type of project and size of project.
Not only this, it will automatically sense the projects type and size based on certain information and matching up those information with the keywords from the past projects and automatically develop the basic layout of project schedule, work breakdown structure and resources requirements. Apart from this, it will also help in developing new methodologies for projects and create a uniform set of data and methodologies for specific types of projects.
This type of disruptive automation in organization will change the whole enterprise resource planning system and develop a good tool to control and monitor the projects.
Project management is being practiced from millennia, but its advancement as a profession was realized in last few decades. Also, considering the technology innovations in the same period the project management process and methods have been impacted by the technology in a successful and positive manner. Also, current trend of technology change for artificial intelligence we aspect a good project control tools to take place for ease of project control methods.
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2. A Brief History of Project Management – Patrick Weaver, PMP, MAPM, Director, Mosaic Project Services – APM (Vol. 19) , June 2007.
3. The History of Project Management – Dr. Tom Joseph Seymour, Minot State University – Researchgate, 2014.
4. A Short History of Modern Project Management – Alan Stretton – PMWORLD TODAY, 2 Ed., Oct 2007.
5. Technologies that greatly impact the Project Management – NH Learning Solutions, 2016.
6. Trends that will transform Project Management – Moira Alexander, CIO.com, 2016.