The History of Project Management Software

From CPM Scheduling to AGILE / Strategic Portfolio Management / Collaborative Work Management / AI

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Event Description:

This presentation delivers an informative and entertaining look at the history of the project management software industry. It starts way back in the mainframe days when the critical path method (CPM) was just the 2nd computer application which stored a program in memory. And continues over the next 70 years of innovations to the point we are at now, which is cloud based availability of many types of solutions aimed at a broad range of industry users with varying degrees of functionality.

Along the way, the presenter will highlight some little-known history about this industry’s vendors and products, including some specific details on Microsoft Project’s background.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees of this presentation learn how the industry started and the type of business problems project management software was being applied to; there have been major changes in that over the years.
  • The presentation will walk through each generation of software systems from those first mainframe-based tools, through minicomputers, PCs, LAN multi-user systems, Windows, and the latest “cloud” offerings.
  • The presentation will explain how the major vendors have expanded their products from just project scheduling to comprehensive solutions addressing resource management, project budgeting and forecasting, strategic planning, and product/deliverables management.
  • The presenter will also discuss the impact of Agile techniques and the rise of Collaborative Work Management (CWM). And the presenter will include his own thoughts on how the leading Industry analysts have categorized the software vendors approaches and what is forecasted as the future of solutions.

Interested in getting in touch with the presenter? Contact Rich Murphy at

PMI PDUs:  0 Ways of Working, 0 Power Skills,  1 Business Acumen

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Written by Rich Murphy
Rich Murphy has been generally recognized as one of the “thought leaders” in the project management software field. He started his project management career as the lead scheduler on a 7 year/$4 billion engineering and construction project. Rich eventually moved full time into the project management software field with one of the leading vendors in the industry. Over the next 20 years Rich and his team developed some of the leading PM systems including one of the first multi-user, multi-project Windows based systems. Rich has a long history with Microsoft Project; he was one of the original beta testers of Microsoft Project for Windows. And in August 2000, Microsoft acquired Project Enterprise which Rich and his team had developed. As part of that acquisition, Rich joined Microsoft and was appointed as the original Solution CEO for Microsoft’s Enterprise Project Management solution based on SharePoint. Many of the concepts in Project Enterprise (such as the Enterprise Global and Enterprise Resource Pool), became the basis for Project Professional and SharePoint based Project Server and later included in Microsoft’s Project Online cloud offering. Contact rich at
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