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The Evolution of Project Management

Professor Herman Steyn takes the long view when it comes to how project management reached the state we find it today. In the 1950s, it was focused on scheduling, budgeting, and control. It expanded, however, to include operational management, systems thinking, and risk management (among other areas). Professor Steyn goes on to explain how his university became the only university on the African continent with a master’s programme in project management accredited by the USA Project Management Institute (PMI). The university of Pretoria recognized the needs caused by a world of project management that was both specialize and rapidly developing, and through its own standing as a multidisciplinary university, was able to perform research to move the field forward. One way that project management has evolved is by means of the rapid sophistication of computer systems as well as the expanding needs of business: In the early days of project management, the focus was on the planning and execution of an individual project. One current emphasis is on linking multiple projects with corporate strategies to enhance corporate competitiveness. This has led to projects being viewed as investments that form part of portfolios of projects. Organisations handling multiple projects need to make complex decisions to structure portfolios and to allocate resources to the individual projects, based on several criteria that include the strategic relevance and relative priority of each project. Computer systems have become essential in supporting these decisions. Despite some excellent developments in IT systems, software alone does not provide the ultimate answer to managing multiple projects ““ people skilled in the science and art of project management will always be required to make decisions. In short, project management is become demystified, yet more complex of a skill to possess. Gaining project managers within an organization is a good way of assuring best practices will be followed ““ and gaining project management certification is the best way to make sure that you are a good choice for any company looking to reduce costs and optimize best practices.

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