IPM101 - Reflection on the history and future of project management

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f39545a2140>


Review this dynamic time line depicting the history of project management published by Project Smart.

Consider the following questions:

  1. What do you think is the most significant milestone for project management? Why?
  2. What do you think is the most important challenge for the future of project management? Why?

Log in and share your thoughts on these questions by clicking the “Reply” link and joining the discussion.


What do you think is the most significant milestone for project management? Why?

Before this question is tackled, it is important to define the term “milestone” or “project milestone”. A milestone is a specific point in time within a project lifecycle used to measure the progress of a project toward its ultimate goal. Milestones are tools used in project management to mark specific points along a project timeline

A project milestone is a management tool that is used to describe a point in a project schedule. Milestones can be used to symbolize anything that has started or finished.

A Project milestone is a task of a zero duration that shows an important achievement in a project. A milestone is a reference point that marks a major event or decision point within a project.

Milestones provide us with a kind of yardstick, a kind of measurement that serves as tools to keep an eye on the progress of the project

Why is a milestone important?

A milestone is important because it helps with scheduling when starting a project or an activity. They help in estimating the accurate time the project will be completed. it also helps in indicating the deadlines of the deliverables that are needed to be done. Milestones help the project manager to know how the project is advancing.

Milestones works as markers of project progress and are used in project planning, scheduling, communication and reporting. They indicate the significant starting dates and completion dates.


Jason Westland (2018) what are milestone in project management?


John, Spacey. 2016. 12 Examples of Project Milestones. Simplicable, January 28. https://simplicable.com/new/project-milestones.


Hi @misheckmutuzana

Thanks for your contribution - that’s a good overview of what a project milestone is in project management. Thanks for sharing!

Apology for the confusion - the intended question for this forum is to reflect on what you think the most significant event was in the history of project management. The idea is to identify an event in the timeline you feel is significant and to share you reasons why you selected this event.

Good luck with the rest of your studies!


What do you think is the most significant milestone for project management?

1987: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Published by PMI.

The development of the PMBOK in 1987. Because it sought to bring practical knowledge from many different people and project activities not only into one document but create a point of reference for the experience and novice who were entering the field. It was a document that provided transformative energy.

What do you think is the most important challenge for the future of project management?

The Green revolution and Globalization, which encompass several elements but I would like to highlight speed, cost, culture, political policies. While globalization presents many great opportunities it also presents many great, let me not say problems, but complexities which I would mention again highlight speed, cost, culture, political policies, and environmental procurement.


I think you’re right - promoting and ensuring sustainable business practices will become increasingly important in the future.

Thanks for sharing!


I’m not really well versed in project management theory so I can only say what seems important so far! I loved Beers application of cybernetics to management post WW2 and I think that managing complex systems like firms could be really well served with that kind of approach.


The next section is making me vaguely uncomfortable from the get go, wouldn’t a project such as the Apollo program or the Great Wall of China have been better executed if they had not been understood as having definite ending points? I feel like efficiency gains could have been made for instance with a carry on of the infrastructure for both in future activity, even where the managers of the projects didn’t plan beyond the end of their “projects” I am sure rocket tooling equipment, transport equipment, reconnaissance units, and the machinery of the projects generally continued operating beyond the end of “the project”. That is both for the original purpose of said projects, reinforcing wall segments or redirecting invading forces using the same logistical systems, or engineering fresh space fairing efforts using the same staff for example, and also for “novel” purposes that can make use of the same investments.

Setting definite boundaries seems to make it “easier” in one sense but in many cases might actually be more expensive than a more holistic approach.


Hi @xraggamuffin

These are good questions and reflections - thanks for sharing.

Consider for example that many public funded infrastructure “projects” like building a new bridge or hospital typically exceed initial budget predictions in the media. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, but one important dimension is political, i.e. promoting buy-in from the community. Sometimes the “soft issues” like community support, could be more important than accurate project management budget predictions.

In other spheres like free and open source software development, there are real differences in approach compared to commercial software development projects (see for example The Cathedral and the Bazaar . Open source development tends to be more incremental and agile, i.e. rather than working from a “master plan” (to build the Cathedral). However, within larger open source project developments, sub-components utilize more traditional project planning methodologies.

The definition of project management, in this context requires, for example fixed start and end dates, defined outputs etc. Without these boundaries, “project management” is not possible. So I think its about context - Are we talking about project management in the context of the discipline of project management, or are we talking about projects in other contexts?

I do agree with your thinking that pre-defined outputs constrain innovation. I don’t think the vision of landing the first humans on the Moon would not have materialized if the entire mission was orchestrated using the PMBOK handbook, but individual components of the larger vision benefited from efficient project management practices.

Keen to hear your thoughts!