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The History of Project Management

No definite source has been found regarding the actual history of project management. However, evidence for the implementation of project management science has existed for thousands of years. This can be proven by the existence of a giant pyramid in the city of Egypt. The pyramid, which is generally a building that functions as a tomb for kings and also as a place of worship, is the most amazing evidence of the application of project management science in the past. 

The construction of the pyramid was not carried out haphazardly, proving that the design of every corner of the building was considered very carefully. Almost every pyramid was built taking into account the distance of the pyramid from the sun, because the sun was the most important element for life in ancient society. The construction of this pyramid could not have been carried out if there were no people who planned, organized and mobilized the workers and exercised control over its construction. And history also records that the Indonesian people also have a brilliant record in Project Management, one of which is Borobudur which was built between 760 and 830 AD during the peak of the glory of the Syailendra dynasty in Central Java.

As a scientific discipline, Project Management was developed from several application fields including civil construction, engineering, and also activities in the field of HANKAM (defense-security). Project Management has been applied from the beginning of humankind. Among them are Vitruvius (1 century BC), Christopher Wren (1632-1723), Thomas Telford (1757-1834) and Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859).

Then it was only in the 1900s that Project Management with its systematic processes was applied to complex engineering projects. Two phenomenal figures from project management. It was Henry Gantt, called the father of planning and control techniques, who was famous for his use of Gantt charts as a project management tool; and then Henri Fayol for his creation of the 5 management functions that form the basis of the body of knowledge related to project and program management. Gantt and Fayol were both students of Frederick Winslow Taylor to deepen scientific management theory. His work was a pioneer of modern project management tools including work breakdown structure (WBS – Work Breakdown Structure) and resource allocation.

The year 1950 marked the beginning of the era of modern Project Management coming together with the field of Technical Engineering (Engineering) as one unit. Project management became known as a distinct scientific discipline that emerged from the engineering discipline of management in the United States. Before the 1950s, projects were generally managed using Gantt charts, as an informal tool and technique. At that time, two mathematically project model scheduling models were being developed. The first is the Critical Path Method (CPM) which was developed on a project as a joint venture between DuPont Corporation and Remington Rand Corporation to manage plant maintenance projects. And the second is the “Program Evaluation and Review Technique” (or PERT – Program Evaluation and Review Technique), developed by Booz Allen Hamilton as part of the United States Navy (in conjunction with Lockheed Corporation) in the development of the Polaris submarine missile program; These mathematical engineering calculations then quickly spread to private companies to be implemented. At the same time, project-scheduling models were also being developed, techniques for calculating project costs, cost management, and engineering economics continued to develop, pioneered by Hans Lang and others.

In 1956, the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE), now called AACE International; The International Association of Cost Engineering experts was originally formed by project management practitioners and specializes in planning and scheduling, cost estimation and project schedule control (Project Control). AACE continues to work as a pioneer and in 2006 first released an integrated process for portfolio, program and project management (Total Cost Management Framework). AACE offers several certifications such as CCE, PSP and so on.

In 1967, the International Project Management Association (IPMA) was founded in Europe, as a federation of several national project management associations. IPMA maintains its federal structure today and now includes member associations on every continent except Antarctica. IPMA offers a Level Four Certification program that is based on the IPMA Competency Baseline (ICB). This ICB includes technical competence, contextual competence, and behavioural competence.

In 1969, the Project Management Institute (PMI) was formed in the United States. PMI published a guide book often called the PMBOK Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide), which describes general project management practices for “almost all projects and almost all times.” ”. PMI also offers several certifications such as PMP, CAMP and so on.

In Indonesia itself, Project Management developed in the 1970-1990 era, starting with the increasing number of infrastructure projects that required many professionals in the field of Project Management. One of them that was first established was the Jakarta Chapter of the Project Management Institute (which is now called PMI – Indonesia). PMI Indonesia was founded in 1996 and is an organization dedicated to improving, consolidating and channelling Indonesian project management and working for the development of knowledge and expertise for the benefit of all stakeholders. The organization is a branch of the Project Management Institute (PMI), a leading, worldwide professional, non-profit organization.