Ready to Start Your Career?

History of Project Management

themindandbeauty 's profile image

By: themindandbeauty

May 27, 2017



An Introduction

It is construction which we consider a general term handling the art and science of to configuring material or immaterial objects, systems or organizations and it is typically done on location for a known owner (Halpin, Daniel W.; Senior, Bolivar A., 2010) starting with planning, diagram, and fund to continue till finishing the project and preparing it for final usage. More definitely, the construction industry is a complicated and disconnected process that requires meeting an exact agenda restricted to controlled resources that should be adherent to. The construction industry plays an important role in the economic structure and growth as it generates a lot of business opportunities and vacancies for skilled and unskilled employees. In addition, it is regarded that the construction process is the supreme human concentrated field as its activities are characterized by their utmost importance to the execution of domestic civil and economic development plans concerning public infrastructure and employment as well. It is obvious that construction activities affect the economic situation, as the industry is required for sustainable growth. It contributes to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 7% to 10% for developed nations and 3% to 6% for developing ones (Lowe, 2003).

Despite that, construction is a risky business that stands in need for an equitable settlement guaranteeing that the parties participating feel satisfied. The severe competition may require that contractors provide the owners bidding beyond compare with the lowest cost. It is regarded that construction is a risky business because of its contractual risk and insatiability of projects. There are brutal conditions affecting construction business surrounded by a complex environment using the minimum possible choices in a highly competitive market where a project may take years and may be massively affected by market variables. To make the construction project successful, some duties should be performed such as time constraint, quality and cost.  For the time being, construction projects become widely complex because those projects include hard operations that need to be interdependent and, at the same time rather different (Baccarini, 1996). There are considerable aspects affecting those projects such as technological evolution, used systems and environment so, project management process began implementing standardized tools and techniques to fulfil those multi-disciplinary operational projects.

A brief History of Project Management

Although humankind practiced project management effectuating its activities thousands of years ago, the industrial revolution made a huge difference that developed that process to radically transform to mass production. During that period of the nineteenth century, Henri Fayol (1841 -1925) found the common basis for the current practices that project management employs so far (Howell et al., 2004) while Henry Grant (1861 –1919) designed his charts that current project management software involves. During the 1950s, modern project management came to life (Kwak, 2003) as the U.S. Navy made contributions to the constitution of practices and methods that the Navy applied in Polaris project and Manhattan project. During the 1960s, U.S. Department of Defence and NASA made further contributions employing those methods to execute large projects investing huge budget and requiring precise agenda to be delivered at a specific time. In the 1970s, the process witnessed a technological awakening when Oracle Corporation managed to produce software running the processes that project management operates. That paved the way for companies to use computers performing the functions of the project management.

Types of a Project

To successfully manage a project, it is important to make the projects involve its objectives and processes. It is clear that achieving the objectives is based on implementing the processes that differ according to the type of the project. (Shenhar, A.J. & R.M. Wideman, 1997) indicated that there are nine types of the projects relating to their products:






Computer Software Development


Design of Plans


Equipment or System Installation


Event or Relocation


Maintenance of Process Industries


New Product Development




We can classify projects into three types based on their major fields:

  1.            Construction Projects related to industry. Those projects require huge investments and suffer various risks as they are subjected to materials 
  2.       Manufacturing projects related to machinery. Those projects involve designing and developing facilities and suffer legal obstacles when controlling those facilities and when communicating
  3.     Management-established projects related to organizational structure. Those projects include operations utilized to make coordination of the offices and their activities that find difficulties in systematization

Aims of a Project

The aim of project management is to figure out risks and difficulties that a project may challenge providing a strategy that can organize and control the activities that a project includes. That process should continue to achieve satisfaction for all parties participating, it should be compatible with the time limit, and the budget settled. Although projects differ as they involve various activities and constrained time, they are characterized by a measurable aim handling time, budget and application. If we begin with timing, we can find a solid correlation between timing and budget. When projects are delivered on time, it means that costs are minimized so, the parties involved feel satisfied with results obtained. Accomplishing a project considering the schedule confirmed is an indicator that the parties are successful at meeting the market changes (Hilton, R., M. Maher and F. Selto, 2008) so, making a balance between time and cost increases the productions (Rahnamayroodposhti, Fraydoon and Jalili, Mohammad, 2009); therefore, making that balance results in improving application quality that reinforce the feeling of achievement. That quality is the appropriate way for minimizing costs and optimizing productivity. (Refaat, H. Abd El Razek, Ahmed M. Diab, Sherif M. Hafez and Remon F. Aziz, 2010) stated that when a project practices its process reaching quality, it can meet the needs that the parties identified. The aim of project management takes improvement of the construction conditions into account seeking for keeping the ecosystem safe while at the same time, it supports the project parties strengthening their feeling of satisfaction. It achieves technological perfection including infrastructural planning.

Critical factors of Success in Project Management

Success factors are executive processes that affect projects. They are data that can contribute to the success of a project so, they embody various aspects that should be organized and integrated to accomplish a project on time. There are many successful factors can perform that duty:

·        Setting an evident vision formulating clear objectives consistent with values and cultures that a project embraces

·        Defining the expected results making an agreed statement that the primary stakeholders approve

·        Developing a plan outlining sufficient precautions and emergencies

·        Specifying the project capacities and capabilities organizing a proper structure meeting the needs of parties involved

·        Provisioning the available resources derived from the agreed plan       


When implementing those factors, project parties feel that their expectations are met although they are different (Sanvido, V. et al., 1990). It is recommended that those factors are integrated into the initial partnership of the project parties (Lapinski et al., 2006) so that they can deliver the project within the specified budget. In order to achieve that, those factors should be considered:


● A platform of reinforcement and encouragement from senior managers

● An availability of proficient and experienced project managers and designers capable of working hard to plan the construction design

● Adequate communication channels charged with capabilities of troubleshooting and providing innovative solutions equitable for the parties

Project Life cycles and methodologies

Life cycles and methodologies are timing structures laying down restraint procedures on projects. Life cycles regulate relevant projects providing prescribed checkpoints while methodologies establish firmness and flexibility to make project successful (Tom Kendrick, 2012). When discussing project life cycles, we can find them management tools providing a comprehensive system and cohesion for the main breakthroughs of a project. More specifically, to effectuate life cycles and support their roles, there are two major types that should be implemented. The first model is waterfall consisting of a single round passing through succeeding stages such as definition and analysis. The second model is agile where projects incorporate consecutive repetitive rounds that deliver cumulative results reaching the concluding output. The two types are specially processed and planned to meet the singular needs of the project parties so, the activities embodied in the two models tend to consider those needs. Concerning methodologies, they exceed the benchmark that life cycles work on. Methodologies provide a categorical direction pointing out the project line so, they include checklist and templates that provide precise details. In addition, methodologies affect the project as they represent the weight that measures the commitment of the project parties.                             

Project Parties and their partnership

Project parties endure related responsibilities based on their relevant work. They share the services that should meet their needs so, it is significant for them to define their responsibilities planning the course of action of implementing them to make coordination between them and prevent claims. The first step to ensuring that the coordination is achieved is to recognize their experience and interests in the project. It is recommended that an emergency plan is proposed to avoid claims and treat them. That plan should focus on the inherent point that results in claims and prepare the parties for being qualified for handling them. In fact, the responsibilities of the contractor and consultant exceed those of the owner because the organizational structure, as (Walker, 2008) stated should produce a groundwork that achieves the needs of the owner. Controlling a project is the responsibility of the contractor and consultant as they are demanded that they deliver the project within time, budget and prescribed quality. They should manage the projects to satisfy the owner (Fewings, 2005). To make sure that the needs of the owner are met, the contractor and consultant should sign a contract defining the inputs and possible claims. In consequence, communication is an integral part of the relations between the parties because it reduces the gap between them and clarifies their contributions to the project. When communication occurs soundly, the relation between the owner and the contractor becomes profitable because the contractor will manage the project as documented while the relation between the owner and consultant becomes beneficial because the consultant will provide solutions that help the owner achieve his specific objectives and expectations as well. Communication paves the way for building a professional relation between the contractor and consultant to enhance the knowledge of the consultant of the services that the contractor offers and that, in turn, helps the contractor provide proper calendar and drawings while the consultant provides him with data analysis and drawings recommendations.

References included:

Baccarini, D. (1996). “The concept of project complexity – a review”. International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 201-204.

Fewings, P. (2005). Construction Project Management “An Integrated Approach”. Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-415-35905-8.

Halpin, Daniel W.; Senior, Bolivar A. (2010), Construction Managemement (4 ed.), Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, p. 9, ISBN 9780470447239, retrieved May 16, 2015

Hilton, R., M. Maher and F. Selto, 2008. Cost Management, Strategies for Business Decision, 3rd edition. Irwin/McGraw-Hill

Howell, G., Macomber, H., Koskela, L., and Draper, J. (2004). “Leadership and Project Management: Time for a Shift from Fayol to Flores.” Proceedings of 12th  IGLC conference, Elsinor, Denmark.

Kendrick, Tom. (2012) Results Without Authority: Controlling a Project When the Team Doesn't Report to You, 2nd., United States of America: American Management Association.

Kwak, Y. H.. (2003). Brief History Of Project Management. In K. A. Carayannis, The Story of Managing Projects (p. Chapter 2). Quorum Books

Lapinski, A., Horman, M. and Riley, D. (2006). “Lean processes for sustainable project delivery.” Journal of Construction Engineering Management, 132(10), 1083-1091.

Lowe, J.L. (2003). Construction Economics, www.callnetuk.come/home/johnlowe 70/

Rahnamayroodposhti, Fraydoon and Jalili, Mohammad, 2009. Target Costing, (first ed.), Terme Publication: Tehran.

Refaat,  H. Abd El Razek, Ahmed M. Diab, Sherif M. Hafez and Remon F. Aziz, 2010. Time-Cost-Quality Trade-off Software by using Simplified Genetic Algorithm for Typical-repetitive Construction Projects, Journal of World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, pp: 61. 

Sanvido, V, Grobler, F, Parfitt, K, Guvenis, M and Coyle, M (1992) Critical success factors for construction projects, “Journal of Construction Engineering and Management”, 118(1), 94-111.

Shenhar, A.J. & R.M. Wideman, (1997). Toward a Fundamental Differentiation between Projects; Paper presented at PICMET Í97, Portland, Oregon.

Walker, A. (2007). Project Management in Construction. Fifth Edition. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-4051-5824-4.

Schedule Demo