The History of Project Management

The History of Modern Organizations — PART III.

Patrick Heller
7 min readJul 10


People have been working since the dawn of our time. Whether it was hunting or gathering, farming or nursing, warring, or leading, work has always been there. But, work has changed over time. With the discovery of fire, the creation of tools, and the ever-increasing complexities of our human societies, labor has evolved for most humans.

Understanding the Why

If we would focus solely on today’s modern workplace — the one you are probably familiar with — we would be missing out on why things came to be as they currently are. To better understand the current, it definitely helps to understand the past. Thus, a brief dive into history, similar to the previous articles about psychology, will aid in comprehending psychological insights into the way things happen in your work environment today.

Let me be frank about the scope of this all-too-brief overview of the history of work. No doubt I will be skipping numerous significant influential persons as well as events, but these articles are not intended as an all-encompassing encyclopedia of sorts. I will touch on topics that I see as highly influential still to this day, and therefore important to understand.

Project Management

In 1954 we see a few interesting facts arise. In that year, US Air Force General Bernard Schriever coined the term “project management” and Peter Drucker wrote The Practice of Management in which he describes his idea of Management by objectives. These facts are interesting because they resonate to this day when it comes to the way organizations are run.

Project Management is described as the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at a specified time. In short, a project is successful if its scope is delivered within time, within budget, and with specified quality.

Management by Objectives is the process of defining specific objectives within an organization that management can convey to organization members, then deciding how to achieve each objective in sequence. This process allows managers to consider the…



Patrick Heller

Agile Coach ★ Author ★ Speaker