History Of Project Management Software: How It Developed

Article Published on Financesonline.com- Louie Andre

Among the first good examples of project management include the building and completion of the Great Pyramid of Giza in 2570 BC. Until now, even the top archaeologists are still arguing how the Egyptians were able to achieve this project. According to ancient records, managers were assigned for each of the Great Pyramid’s four faces who were responsible for the coordination and completion of the task. In that sense, there was some form of planning, implementation, and control involved in finishing this project.

The building of the Great Wall of China in 208 BC can also be argued what is considered among the best examples of project management. Since the rule of the Qin Dynasty, the Great Wall construction had been a very daunting project. Based on historical records, the dynasty’s labor force was composed of groups: soldiers, common people, and criminals. The emperor ordered millions of his people to complete this project.

In 1917, one of the first fathers of project management, Henry Gantt, created a scheduling diagram called the Gantt chart. At that time it was a radical tool, and it became known worldwide in the 1920s. The Hoover Dam project, which started in 1931, was among the first beneficiaries of the Gantt chart. In fact, even until now, Gantt charts are being used today and very much an important component of the project manager’s kit.

Fast forward to 1956.The American Association of Cost Engineers is formed by early project management practitioners and those involved with associated special fields of planning and scheduling, cost and schedule, and cost estimating. Now known as AACE International, the group has become the foremost professional society for project managers, project control specialists, cost estimators, schedules, and cost engineers.

In 1957, the Critical Path Method (CPM) was invented. Developed by the Dupont Corporation, CPM is used to estimate project duration and designed to address the complex method of shutting down as well as restarting chemical plants due to maintenance. The next year, the US Navy Special Projects Office designed PERT (Program Evaluation Review Technique) during the cold war. PERT is a method for analysing the tasks involved in completing a project, especially the time needed to complete each task and identifying the minimum time needed to complete the total project.

Another milestone happened in 1962, when the United States Department of Defense created and mandated the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Approach for its projects. The WBS was later adopted by private enterprise businesses and remains a common project management tool.

In 1964, the first project management associated in the world, the International Project Management Association, was founded in Vienna. At present is has 120,000 members all over the world. Five years later, the Project Management Institute was launched as a nonprofit professional organization for the advancement of the profession, science, and practice of project management.

The rapid evolution and progress of computer technology resulted in the growth of some project management software businesses such as Oracle (1977), Artemis (1977), and Scitor Corporation (1979).

Modern developments

The modern history of project management software really took off in the Eighties and Nineties, when the information management sectors grew in leaps and bounds, especially with the advent of the personal computer and networking facilities. This growth resulted in low-cost PCs that can do multi-tasking and efficiently managing complex project schedules. This allowed for the growth of project management techniques as well as software programs.

Examples of big projects done during this rapid growth of information technology include the England-France Channel project and the Space Shuttle Challenger project.

Internet’s rise

The rise of the Internet as well as related online developments led to the explosion of radical business practice ideas in the mid-1990s. The Internet has allowed people to instantly browse, track, and purchase products and services, resulting in making companies more efficient, productive, and client-oriented. Moreover, the Internet will be considered a major milestone in the history of project management software for allowing many software packages to have an Internet connectivity function.

The widespread use of Internet resulted in the establishment of virtual project officers worldwide, and making it easier to deliver products and services, monitoring projects, and communicate anyone in the world.

Nowadays, project management is regarded as among the most in-demand skills that can result in better job security in companies. Virtual project teams are on the rise worldwide. In 2012, the rise of mobile apps has fueled the growth of remote project management, allowing people and businesses to manage projects anywhere at any time.

What is next?

  • Tomorrow’s projects will become larger, more difficult to manage, and more complex.
  • Business teams are getting more diverse and distributed across the world.
  • The economic downtrend in many countries pushes work offshore to countries that have lower labor costs.
  • Project software companies will fight for a consumer market that wants their products and services delivered efficiently and instantly.
  • Free and demo versions of project management software solutions will be even bigger than before.
  • A comparison of the history of project management software solutions will be marked with more complex and efficient features to cater to the needs of the market.

Are you looking for more information about project management software? Computer Weekly has a helpful guide in understanding project management software. TimeDoctor lists and compares some of the most popular project management software solutions.

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