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The treatment of the subject of projects and project management in this chapter encompasses several thousands of years where evidence exists to demonstrate that projects were used to change and advance societies and that some form of project management was needed to ensure favorable conversion of resources to the benefit of these societies. The selection of examples of projects reported in this chapter is made based on available artifacts, literature, and other evidence reflecting a high degree of understanding and sophistication in effecting change through planned actions. For centuries, project management has been used in some rudimentary form to create change or deal with changein societies. Change in a positive sense is caused by the application of management action that results in the consumption of resources to create a desired product, service, or organizational process. Change also may be meeting uncertain situations to identify and implement actions to obtain the most favorable outcome. Project management, in whatever form, has been used for centuries to plan for, implement, and meet change. The general management discipline, although practiced in some form in antiquity, emerged as an explicit discipline in the twentieth century. It was during this period that concepts, philosophies, principles, processes, tools, and techniques began to appear in literature that reflects the intellectual framework found in the management of contemporary organizations. Yet a form of general management existed in antiquity to deal with the need to lead and organize various elements of society. Project management, often described in the context of leadership, was ubiquitous in the past, being the medium by which changes in societies were accomplished. The great leaders of history were “managers,” managing political organizations, countries, explorations, wars, technological and social change, and so forth. The principal challenge to these managers was the need to create change for the better or to deal with the change that affected their societies. This chapter is a step toward acknowledgment and a fuller appreciation of the role that project managers and project teams have played throughout history in the evolution of society. A study of projects of the past would include an assessment of the effectiveness in management of the projects—as well as development of an informal “lessons to be learned” profile in the conceptualization and completion of the projects. As an inventory of these profiles is developed, our knowledge of what to do in managing contemporary projects, as well as what to avoid, adds to our understanding of how project management should be carried out in both the present and the future. An early form of project management was used to plan for and use the resources needed to deal with change. Only through studying the past can we fully perceive how the world has been changed by projects. A study of these projects helps us to understand how institutions have emerged and survived using a form of project management. Having a knowledge and appreciation of past projects binds us to the present and the future. If we do not learn from the past, we are condemned to make the same mistakes and pay for those mistakes again.

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