Project Management as We Know It

Hello, and welcome to all project managers, not MPs. My name is Sergei broken. I am a certified recovering project manager. And this is my advanced project management course. Today’s lesson number two, we’re going to talk about the history of project management. As we know it, welcome back to class. I expect you all have watched lesson number one. And so you’re well aware that after more than two decades of professional project management, I realized that the soft aspects of any project or any business in general, at least as important for the business results as annual, the so called hard assets. And when you get to that revelation with my help, and they hope you will, during this course, you will become a better manager. And if you are already a good manager, you have a chance to become a great manager. That is to say that this course is about the soft aspects of management. And it’s not a PMP exam preparation course. And that’s not what you thought it’s actually somebody entering the class. A bit late to our second meeting. Welcome back. And please lock the door. Yes, from the inside. Let’s get started. By the way, here’s a pro tip for you. Nothing personal, but just to ensure that my meetings are always efficient. I do not tolerate retarded people. What’s that? You don’t say that in English? What do you say in English? tardy? tardy, tardy? Good to know. But somehow retarded, retarded? Yes, exactly. worked just fine. Here’s how it worked. At the very first meeting, I would kindly ask all the retarded people not to be late to my meeting any more, and then lock the door. All right, I understand it doesn’t sound very polite, but you have to do it only once. And that ensures meeting effectiveness. We’ll get to the meeting effectiveness more times during the course. But this was the pro tip for the day. That’s exactly what we did just now. Let’s get to the class. Before we dive in project management history, let’s make sure that we are aligned on basic definitions. There are a few things that you may want to take with you from project management as we know it. And clear definitions is definitely one of them. Probably the most important, clarity and order are what make project management project management. No wonder that there are quite a few former military officers working as project managers. And one such veteran authors and an incredible project manager completely mesmerized me with his project management course. But I think would better take it separately during the question and answer session. By all means Frank, hardcore Project Manager onedotzero will agree that clear definitions are the cornerstone of efficiency and not just project management. So let’s look at the key definitions of project management. But that will be just a refresher because as this is an advanced course, I am sure you know all the definitions and let’s just let’s just list the key ones on the whiteboard project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to complete a unique product or service. The keywords here are temporary and unique. Sending a rocket to Mars is a project. Maintaining regular flights to Mars, someday in the future will be a process. Project Management is the application of knowledge skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements. Although some very certified professionals will disagree, but project management is not a separate field of human knowledge. It’s a systemic application of what we already know as managers. And of course, project manager is the person assigned by the performing organization to achieve the project objectives. Won’t you agreed? Let’s see. Pretty much all of us. We all have some projects ongoing. And if you have no clear objectives that we may have a problem there. So this are key definitions that are more or less universal. beyond those like things like project charter project phases, gays risks, they are treated differently in different organizations. So whatever you may have already memorized for the PMP exam, you may safely forget now. So let’s do just that to project management as we know it, let’s look at its history in order to better understand its present and predict the future. And this exercise that I did for you took me much longer than I expected. But then applying the 8020 rules, I realized that we can wrap up the entire history into three major milestones, or a timeline of just over 100 years. And they are 1900 approximately Frederick Taylor’s scientific management, middle of the last century, the creation of several tools that are still used in project management and management, plus the computers and the Internet. And finally, and the most important part of it is 1969 when the Project Management Institute was created, and you may ask, what about the pyramids, they were built about 6000 years ago, correct. But I’m absolutely certain that at the time, they had no project managers, they had no project managers template, certifications, or techniques. Anyway, did a very good job, it’s still there. And probably they just used good management towards a clear objective, personal experience and common sense, I can hear that Taylor was not a PM, right? Nobody called anybody project management till about 1980s. Next, I hear that Taylor improved industrial efficiency and that’s process improvement, not project management, right. But that’s the point there is only a fine line between project management and management in general, as there is a limited difference between projects and processes, projects or processes are limited in time and resources. So most of the observations, rules and lessons learned are applicable to both. And by all means scientific management was the beginning of project management as we know it today. And the project management methodology as we know it is just an upgraded version of taylorism supported by the it and by some inventions that came after Taylor, like the Gantt chart, critical path method, and to some extent program evaluation and review technique developed roughly in the 15th of last century, followed by a work breakdown structure in 1962, and used by the Navy, US Navy and later by NASA. And that made the project management methodology all the more popular. But the biggest boost that the project management methodology has ever received was from the creation of a non allegedly nonprofit organization known as the Project Management Institute in 1969. The smart people who build the PMI ecosystem have won the marketing game and build the pm brand as we know it. Let’s not get into further details here and let’s not analyze your things of lesser importance and significance like Theory of Constraints Scrum, Earned Value management, critical chain project management agile, forgot another methodology formerly known as Prince. For those who do not know it was promptly renamed Prince to pretty much in a couple of years since inception, because it was too rigid in its original form to be useful in real life environment. All of those methodologists are claiming their share of the limelight and their prominent role in project management history. But I promised you to deliver 20% of the information that contained 80% of knowledge you need to succeed. Remember 8020 rule so we will not go into the details. Let’s do this. Put together a list of various products that project management methodology as we know it now, has been promoting mentioned by me in this lesson or may be known to you without me and try to see if the Pareto rule works. Here, probably you will see that maximum 20% of the items on your list really contain the 80% value for the project management and for management in general. And those exactly will be Taylor’s ideas of scientific management, the critical path and the Gantt chart, all of them invented and adopted by managers long before the brand project management professional has become a product. A quick note here about taylorism no doubt it has increased production efficiency, but mostly on the physical level. So to say it has downsides that have been discussed repeatedly over 100 years of its existence. And one of the most vivid illustrations of the downside of the killing effect of this industrial efficiency on the factory worker was done by Charlie Chaplin in his movie modern time the movie is well worth watching today. And not just because the main characters name their kinds of dental is little Trump sounds a bit amusing to my non native ear. But of course, it’s much more than the name. Looking at it from our high level perspective, we must realize that the long term effect of taylorism on the management jobs is the same as on the assembly line. When a manager has his job split into defined and clear formal steps that he must follow day after day, he is becoming more efficient in the short term, but in the long term, this may be damaging to his brain and definitely driving down the efficiency of the project and the teamwork. For some of us, perhaps following the rules over one for all process is akin to being force fed by the feeding machine yet another memorable moment from the same movie. So is taylorism and project management as we know it really good for productivity today. Ask your team and share the feedback. As you all probably know, product life cycle theory. You also know that the period of rapid growth is followed by a maturity period and then eventually goes into decline. And this is exactly where we are with project management as we know it, which like with almost any product doesn’t mean the end of life on Earth. It means that some other product will probably take over this market niche and start its rapid growth. This is exactly what has been happening over the past 20 years with extreme programming lean agile. They’re all product extension of project management as we know it.