History of Project Management Software - ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT

Project management software has the capacity to help plan, organize, and manage resource tools and develop resource estimates. Dependi...

History of Project Management Software

History of Project Management Software

Project management software has the capacity to help plan, organize, and manage resource tools and develop resource estimates. Depending on the sophistication of the software, it can manage estimation and planning, scheduling, cost control and budget management, resource allocation, collaboration software, communication, decision-making, quality management, and documentation or administration systems. Today, numerous PC and browser-based project management software and contract management software solutions exist and are finding applications in almost every type of business.

History of project management software:
1-Predecessors:
The first historically relevant year for the development of project management software is 1896, marked by the introduction of the Harmonogram. Polish economist Karol Adamiecki attempted to display task development in a floating chart, and laid the foundation for project management software as it is today. 1912 was the year when Henry Gantt replaced the Hrongram with the more advanced Gantt chart, a scheduling diagram which broke ship design tasks down for the purposes of Hoover Dam in early 1931.[citation needed] Today’s Gantt charts are almost the same as their original counterparts and are a part of many project management systems.

2-Emergence of the ‘project management’ term and modernized techniques:
The term project management was not used prior to 1954 when US Air Force General Bernard Adolph Schriever introduced it for military purposes. In the years to follow, project management gained relevance in the business world, a trend which had a lot to do with the formation of the American Association of Engineers AACE (1956), and Rang and DuPont’s Critical Path Method calculating project duration ever since 1957.

The trend is also related to the appearance of the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) in 1958. PERT went further with monitoring projects, and enabled users to monitor tasks, being at the same time able to evaluate their quality and to estimate the time needed to accomplish each of them. As with Gantt charts and CPM, PERT was invented for military purposes, this time for the US Navy Polaris missile submarine program.

In 1965, there was a new improvement in project management technology. The US Department of defense presented the work breakdown structure (WBS) to dissolve projects to even smaller visual units, organizing them in a hierarchical tree structure. WBS was an inspiration for Winston Royce’s Waterfall Method (1970) where management phases are organized in a way which doesn’t allow a new task to begin before the previous ones are completed.

The first project management products and associations:
In the period between 1965 and 1969 were formed two of the leading project management associations: the International Project Management Association (IPMA) in Europe, and the Project Management Institute (PMI) which trains project management professionals and issues certificates. With business shifting towards technology-based and paperless methods, the first project management systems started to emerge. 

Oracle and Artemis launched their project managers in 1977, while Scitor Corporation did the same in 1979. Many improvements followed in the upcoming decades: in 1986, Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute introduced capability maturity software, a five-level project management method for rapidly maturing processes, while in 1988 users met earned value management which added processes’ scope and cost to the schedule. 

The trend continued with PRINCE2 (1996) which increased the number of processes to seven, because of which developers considered designing products for managing complex projects. In 2001, they adopted the Agile project management concept and focused on adaptive planning and flexible response to changes. In 2006, users were already able to trigger total cost management, a framework that helps to control and reducing costs in project management.

SaaS and cloud-based project management software:
The SaaS (software-as-a-service) trend began in 2008, qualified by users as the most flexible type of project management software for their teams. In 2009, US News classified project management as one of the most demanded skills for obtaining a well-paid job.

From 2010 on, the most popular project management solutions were cloud-based, designed for the needs of virtual teams looking to access information from any location or device.[11][12] As a result, 2012 brought the first mobile project management apps users can apply on the go.

Tasks and activities:
1-Scheduling:
One of the most common project management software tool types is scheduling tools. Scheduling tools are used to sequence project activities and assign dates and resources to them. The detail and sophistication of a schedule produced by a scheduling tool can vary considerably with the project management methodology used, the features provided and the scheduling methods supported. 

Scheduling tools may include support for:
  • Multiple dependency relationship types between activities 
  • Resource assignment and leveling 
  • Critical path Activity duration estimation and probability-based simulation 
  • Activity cost accounting
2-Providing information:
Project planning software can be expected to provide information to various people or stakeholders and can be used to measure and justify the level of effort required to complete the project(s). 

Typical requirements might include:
  • Overview information on how long tasks will take to complete. 
  • Early warning of any risks to the project. 
  • Information on workload, for planning holidays. 
  • Evidence. 
  • Historical information on how projects have progressed, and in particular, how actual and planned performance is related. 
  • Optimum utilization of available resource. 
  • Cost maintenance. 
  • Collaboration with each teammate and customers. 
  • Instant communication to collaborators and customers.
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