A not so recent trend in Project Management stresses less complex schematics, less time consuming, more efficient collaboration among team members as well as deeper involvement in decision making by those in the group. This phenomenon has been dubbed “agile project management”, because it employs short iterations of up to four weeks, flexible strategies and cooperation among those who are engaged in the targeted projects. Types of agile project management methods include, among others, Scrum, Critical Chain, and Extreme Programming.
Over a century ago Henry Gantt (1861″“1919), studied in great detail the order and iterations of operations in work. His “Gantt Charts” displayed project tasks on one side of a chart and related bars (later known as “Gantt Bars”) depicting the anticipated time duration for each task on the other of the chart. Gantt Chart diagrams became very important analytical and planning tools in a variety of disciplines late in the twentieth century when Microsoft Office Project was introduced.
During World War II, complex government and military projects as well as a diminishing labor force necessitated invention. One example of that phenomenon is the creation of “Critical Path” project management plans. In turn, that facilitated “Critical Path” project management charts and the critical path project management system, i.e., depiction of the series of tasks that must be completed on schedule for a project to finish on schedule.
Soon, these techniques spread to all kinds of industries as business leaders sought new management strategies and tools to handle their growth in a quickly changing and competitive world. In the early 1960s, businesses began to apply general system theories to business interactions.
That perception of a business entity as an almost human organism suggests that if a business is to survive and thrive, all of its components must work together, in harmony, towards the common goal(s) identified in the Business Plan. In recent years, project management has continued to evolve. There appears to be a consensus that two significant trends are emerging: (1)”Bottom-up Planning” which stresses less complex/time consuming project components, more efficient collaboration among team members and stronger team member involvement and decision making. This trend is often called “agile project management,””¦a project management method that uses short iterations of up to four weeks, adaptive strategies, and collaboration among team members.” Types of agile project management include Scrum, Critical Chain, Extreme Programming, and includes a number or related methodologies, such as Unified Process, and many others. (2) The “Top-Down” planning and reviewing trend is characterized by enterprise-wide decision making about the portfolio of projects that an organization should have, as well as by enabling data-mining technologies to make information in the portfolio more transparent.
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