Project management is the discipline of carefully projecting or planning, organizing, motivating and controlling resources to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria. A project is a temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables) undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value.〔
*''The Definitive Guide to Project Management''. Nokes, Sebastian. 2nd Ed.n. London (Financial Times / Prentice Hall): 2007. ISBN 978-0-273-71097-4〕 The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations),〔Paul C. Dinsmore et al (2005) ''The right projects done right!'' John Wiley and Sons, 2005. ISBN 0-7879-7113-8. p.35 and further.〕 which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of these two systems is often quite different, and as such requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies.〔Cattani, G., Ferriani, S., Frederiksen, L. and Florian, T. (2011) Project-Based Organizing and Strategic Management, Advances in Strategic Management, Vol 28, Emerald, ISBN 1780521936.()〕
The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals〔Lewis R. Ireland (2006) ''Project Management''. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2006. ISBN 0-07-147160-X. p.110.〕 and objectives while honoring the preconceived constraints;〔Joseph Phillips (2003). ''PMP Project Management Professional Study Guide''. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2003. ISBN 0-07-223062-2 p.354.〕 these information are usually described in a user or project manual, which is created at the beginning of the development. The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget.〔 The secondary — and more ambitious — challenge is to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and integrate them to meet pre-defined objectives.
Until 1900, civil engineering projects were generally managed by creative architects, engineers, and master builders themselves, for example Vitruvius (first century BC), Christopher Wren (1632–1723), Thomas Telford (1757–1834) and Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806–1859).〔Dennis Lock (2007) ''Project Management'' (9th ed.) Gower Publishing, Ltd., 2007. ISBN 0-566-08772-3〕 It was in the 1950s that organizations started to systematically apply project management tools and techniques to complex engineering projects.〔Young-Hoon Kwak (2005). "A brief History of Project Management". In: ''The story of managing projects''. Elias G. Carayannis et al. (9 eds), Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005. ISBN 1-56720-506-2〕
As a discipline, project management developed from several fields of application including civil construction, engineering, and heavy defense activity.〔David I. Cleland, Roland Gareis (2006). ''Global Project Management Handbook''. "Chapter 1: "The evolution of project management". McGraw-Hill Professional, 2006. ISBN 0-07-146045-4〕 Two forefathers of project management are Henry Gantt, called the father of planning and control techniques,〔Martin Stevens (2002). ''Project Management Pathways''. Association for Project Management. APM Publishing Limited, 2002
ISBN 1-903494-01-X p.xxii〕 who is famous for his use of the Gantt chart as a project management tool (alternatively ''Harmonogram'' first proposed by Karol Adamiecki〔Edward R. Marsh (1975). "The Harmonogram of Karol Adamiecki". In: ''The Academy of Management Journal''. Vol. 18, No. 2 (Jun., 1975), p. 358. ((online ))〕); and Henri Fayol for his creation of the five management functions that form the foundation of the body of knowledge associated with project and program management.〔Morgen Witzel (2003). ''Fifty key figures in management''. Routledge, 2003. ISBN 0-415-36977-0. p. 96-101.〕 Both Gantt and Fayol were students of Frederick Winslow Taylor's theories of scientific management. His work is the forerunner to modern project management tools including work breakdown structure (WBS) and resource allocation.
The 1950s marked the beginning of the modern project management era where core engineering fields come together to work as one. Project management became recognized as a distinct discipline arising from the management discipline with engineering model.〔David I. Cleland, Roland Gareis (2006). ''Global Project Management Handbook''. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2006. ISBN 0-07-146045-4. p.1-4 states: "''It was in the 1950s when project management was formally recognized as a distinct contribution arising from the management discipline.''"〕 In the United States, prior to the 1950s, projects were managed on an ad-hoc basis, using mostly Gantt charts and informal techniques and tools. At that time, two mathematical project-scheduling models were developed. The "Critical Path Method" (CPM) was developed as a joint venture between DuPont Corporation and Remington Rand Corporation for managing plant maintenance projects. And the "Program Evaluation and Review Technique" or PERT, was developed by the United States Navy in conjunction with the Lockheed Corporation and Booz Allen Hamilton as part of the Polaris missile submarine program.〔B. Ralph Stauber, H. M. Douty, Willard Fazar, Richard H. Jordan, William Weinfeld and Allen D. Manvel. (Federal Statistical Activities ). The American Statistician 13(2): 9-12 (Apr., 1959) , pp. 9-12〕
PERT and CPM are very similar in their approach but still present some differences. CPM is used for projects that assume deterministic activity times; the times at which each activity will be carried out are known. PERT, on the other hand, allows for stochastic activity times; the times at which each activity will be carried out are uncertain or varied. Because of this core difference, CPM and PERT are used in different contexts. These mathematical techniques quickly spread into many private enterprises.
At the same time, as project-scheduling models were being developed, technology for project cost estimating, cost management, and engineering economics was evolving, with pioneering work by Hans Lang and others. In 1956, the American Association of Cost Engineers (now AACE International; the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering) was formed by early practitioners of project management and the associated specialties of planning and scheduling, cost estimating, and cost/schedule control (project control). AACE continued its pioneering work and in 2006 released the first integrated process for portfolio, program and project management (Total Cost Management Framework).
The International Project Management Association (IPMA) was founded in Europe in 1967,〔Bjarne Kousholt (2007). ''Project Management –. Theory and practice.''. Nyt Teknisk Forlag. ISBN 87-571-2603-8. p.59.〕 as a federation of several national project management associations. IPMA maintains its federal structure today and now includes member associations on every continent except Antarctica. IPMA offers a Four Level Certification program based on the IPMA Competence Baseline (ICB).〔(ipma.ch )〕 The ICB covers technical, contextual, and behavioral competencies.
In 1969, the Project Management Institute (PMI) was formed in the USA.〔F. L. Harrison, Dennis Lock (2004). ''Advanced project management: a structured approach''. Gower Publishing, Ltd., 2004. ISBN 0-566-07822-8. p.34.〕 PMI publishes ''A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge'' (PMBOK Guide), which describes project management practices that are common to "most projects, most of the time." PMI also offers multiple certifications.
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