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History of Project Management

Project management has been around forever. That's because projects have been a part of civilization since it began. The occupation of project management is older than the pyramids; however, the profession of project management is only about thirty years old. In the United States of America, Project Management Institute (PMI®) was founded in 1969 by a small band of engineers and analysts who called themselves project managers. Their vision was to promote the profession of project management. Today PMI® has hundreds of thousands of members worldwide.

Projects are very important in economic development. They are the way a country adds to its productive capital. Projects are considered hard, like dams and schools and soft like training farmers and developing school curricula. Project management is important in implementing projects and in meeting time, cost and performance objectives.  Today an example of a hard project would be the international space station; a soft project would be the World Wide Web.

In a recent forum on project management twenty-nine countries met and shared their knowledge and experiences on project management. They concluded that project management should be recognized as a profession. Formal education and training for project managers may be found globally in an increasing number of colleges and universities. Today history will record that project management is reaching out to high schools to help students learn how to become better organized and take charge of their quality of life and careers.

Any attempt to describe the history of project management must literally begin with the first project and the first project manager. We don't know what that first project was, or who the first project manager was, but history has many magnificent projects managed by emperors, pharaohs, kings, religious leaders, and architects.

Click on the buttons above for a quick glance at some favorite projects of the past; let us know your favorites and perhaps we can add them to the list.

Copyright ©  James N. Salapatas, PE, PMP  All Rights Reserved.