Of course the problems of managing projects have been around for a long time.
Some of them must have been encountered in the building of the first stone building
of any size to be found in the world. The pyramid at Saqqara in Egypt was commissioned
by King Zoser of the third dynasty. While King Zoser was the sponsor of the project,
apparently the person responsible was his minister, Imhotep.
As L. Sprague de Camp writes in his book The Ancient Engineers:
"Although no trustworthy details of the of Zoser and Imhotep
have come down, we can be sure that they were able men who worked long and effectively
together, Probably lmhotep was a universal genius like Archimedes and Leonardo
da Vinci. Such was his repute as a physician, architect, writer, wizard, statesman,
and all round sage that in later times collections of wise sayings circulated
under his name."
Unquestionably, these two gentlemen must have learned a great deal about managing
projects. While engineering technology flourished through the centuries
at an ever accelerating rate, it was not really until the turn of
the century that management became the subject of more serious study
and then only in the context of an ongoing enterprise.
In its report on Post War National Development approved for publication in
1944, the Institution of Civil Engineers of Great Britain recognized the need
for a systematic approach to planning public works projects when it pointed out
rather quaintly that:
"In order to carry out work efficiently, it is essential that
a scheme of operations be first decided by those directly responsible for the
With such planning the work can be broken, down into a series
of operations and an orderly sequence or programme of execution evolved
Without a Programme the execution can only be haphazard and disorderly
drawing up of a Programme at the beginning of the work does not mean, of course,
that it is drawn up once and for all and cannot be changed. The exact reverse
is the case