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The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

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1.1. Using history

Project management, as an idea, goes back a very long way. If you think about all of the things that have been built in the history of civilization, we have thousands of years of project experience to learn from. A dotted line can be drawn from the software developers of today back through time to the builders of the Egyptian pyramids or the architects of the Roman aqueducts. For their respective eras, project managers have played similar roles, applying technology to the relevant problems of the times. Yet today, when most people try to improve how their web and software development projects are managed, it's rare that they pay attention to lessons learned from the past. The timeline we use as the scope for useful knowledge is much closer to present day than it should be.

The history of engineering projects reveals that most projects have strong similarities. They have requirements, designs, and constraints. They depend on communication, decision making, and combinations of creative and logical thought. Projects usually involve a schedule, a budget, and a customer. Most importantly, the central task of projects is to combine the works of different people into a singular coherent whole that will be useful to people or customers. Whether a project is built out of HTML, C++, or cement and steel, there's an undeniable core set of concepts that most projects share.

Curious about better ways to lead web and software development efforts, I've taken a serious interest ...

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