Tag Archives: Origins of Project Managment

Eric Jenett, PMI Founder

One of the founders of PMI, Eric Jenett, passed away in Houston last week at the age of 88. Eric was a true project management pioneer and a wonderful hoarder of ‘useful information’.

Eric’s generous assistance with documents and references when I was developing a series of papers on the development of modern project management and the history of scheduling was invaluable. Others remembered things; Eric usually had the documentation to substantiate the memories.

My papers were always intended to be a relatively accessible overview of our profession’s history; my hope is Eric’s legacy of source documentation is properly preserved for future academic use. I certainly appreciated his help, his library of papers and his assistance to (at the time) a perfect stranger from another country.

Eric’s contribution to these papers, that can be sourced from: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Resources_Papers_050.html, isjust a minute part of the legacy left to us all by Eric.

The Origins of Project Management

Based on Lynda’s analysis of ‘stakeholder’ using the new Google Ngram Viewer (see: Lynda’s post), I thought I would compare ‘stakeholder’ with ‘Project Management’.

Lynda’s Stakeholder graph:

The Ngram for Stakeholder

My graph of Project Management to the same dimensions:

The Ngram for Project Management

Comparing the two charts suggests ‘stakeholder management’ is a growing social phenomenon whereas ‘project management’ has reached a plateau, possibly suggesting it is a mature business function. Comparing the raw numbers, ‘stakeholder management’ has a very long way to go to catch up with ‘project management’ in terms of the amount of writing about the subject suggesting it will be an expanding area of interest for many years to come.

Interestingly, the start of the steady rise in interest in ‘project management’ from around 1960 fully supports the hypothesis in my paper The Origins of Modern Project Management that the spread of project management was directly linked to the development of CPM scheduling. The original work on CPM was done in 1957!

To explore the Ngram Viewer yourself, see: http://books.google.com/ngrams/

PM History papers updated

Working on my paper for PMOZ 2010, Seeing the Road Ahead – the challenge of communicating schedule data  has required me to re-visit two key papers and augment them with new information and materials discovered in the last few years.

A Brief History of Scheduling – Back to the Future has had quite a lot of new materials incorporated. I am now confident this paper accurately lays out the development of scheduling and in particular, the origins of PERT and CPM.

The Origins of Modern Project Management  has had a few new footnotes included an links the development of modern project management to its roots the the spread of scheduling in the early 1960s.

Both updated papers are available for downloading and I have most of the reference materials available for anyone interested in further research into these topics.

The PMOZ paper will be available after publication in a couple of weeks. For more on the PMOZ conference see: http://www.pmoz.com.au/