History of project management

Strategic Project management was not used as an isolated concept before the Sputnik crisis of the Cold War. After this crisis, the United States Department of Defence needed to speed up the military project process and new tools (models) for achieving this goal were invented. In 1958 the US Navy invented the Program Evaluation and Review Technique or PERT, as part of the Polaris missile submarine program.   At the same time, the DuPont corporation invented a similar model called CPM, critical path method. PERT was later extended with a work breakdown structure or WBS. The process flow and structure of the military undertakings quickly spread into many private enterprises.

Like many others who have to maintain a competitive advantage Dupont, the USA Navy and INTEL have switched to managing their projects using the Critical Chain methodology, they have publicly acknowledged that the Critical Chain approach addresses the root causes previously overlooked when they routinely delivered late or over budget.

Traditional project management does not address the issue of managing uncertainty

Nowadays all kinds of management activity are expressed in terms of projects. 

Unfortunately projects fail at an alarming rate.  Quantitative evaluations show that as many as 30% of projects are cancelled before completion, wasting all the time, money and effort spent on them.  Surviving projects usually fail to deliver the full initial project scope or deliver late or overrun the project budget. 

These project failure rates vary from industry to industry. What is the impact of this failure rate?  

Does this sound familiar?  Compare the BBC News report with the US Marines Video


"Over 83% of all IT projects are delivered late/over-budget. Projects completed from large companies have only 42% of the originally designed features and functions."
– Standish Group Report, Chaos 2000

"Most defence projects take too long/cost too much. Seven of the 10 largest smart procurement projects are late/over budget"
 – National Audit Office, UK, Dec 2002

World's Largest Study on Project Management in 2001 -- Athabasca University's Study on Project Management found that project failure dominates all sectors.

Seventy-five percent of target group respondents reported that projects consistently come in late and over-budget across all sectors. Almost half of the respondents noted a lack of application of appropriate project management tools, techniques and methodologies. The survey also indicates that many company executives around the world continually under-fund project management and view the role of project manager as an add-on to an employee's job description without appropriate training or compensation. This leads to the "accidental project manager" phenomenon. Results are statistically significant to 95% accuracy.

Doing more of the same will only give you more of what you've got using traditional project management. To effectively manage the relationship between Tasks, Resources and Time the project teams will have to move outside of their 'traditional box'.

To discuss the steps to moving forward email   KarlBuckridge @CriticalChain.co.uk