Timeline of Project Management Methodologies

The evolution of project management methodologies over the decades reflects the dynamic nature of the industries they serve. As projects became more complex, diverse, and crucial to the success of enterprises, the strategies to manage them had to evolve. This timeline provides a concise overview of major project management methodologies from the 1950s to the early 2000s. Each methodology was born out of specific needs and challenges of its time, and understanding them provides insights into how businesses have strived to enhance productivity, and efficiency, and deliver value to stakeholders.



  • Critical Path Method (CPM)
    • Originated in the late 1950s for complex scheduling in construction and defence projects.
  • Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
    • Developed by the U.S. Navy during the late 1950s for the Polaris project.


  • Waterfall
    • Introduced in 1970 by Dr. Winston W. Royce. It is the prototypical “fixed/known up front” methodology.
  • Joint Application Development (JAD)
    • Introduced in the late 1970s for improving system requirements gathering.


  • Six Sigma
    • Introduced by Motorola in 1986. Spiral: Introduced by Barry Boehm in 1986.
  • V-Model
    • Evolved in the 1980s as an extension of the Waterfall model.
    • Launched in 1989 by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) in the UK, later updated to PRINCE2.


  • Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)
    • Developed in the 1990s by Eliyahu M. Goldratt.
  • Total Quality Management (TQM)
    • Gained prominence with Edward Deming’s work in the 1990s.
  • Rational Unified Process (RUP)
    • Developed in the early 1990s.
  • Feature-Driven Development (FDD)
    • Introduced in the late 1990s.
  • Crystal
    • Created by Alistair Cockburn in the 1990s.
  • Object-Oriented Project Management (OOPM)
    • Evolved in the 1990s with object-oriented programming.
  • Benefits Realisation Management
    • Originated in the 1990s focusing on delivering benefits from change management initiatives.
  • DSDM
    • Introduced in 1994 as one of the Agile methodologies.
  • Extreme Programming (XP)
    • Introduced in 1996 by Kent Beck, promoting technical excellence and continuous customer collaboration.
  • Scrum
    • Although roots trace back earlier, formalized in the mid-1990s by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.

Early 2000s

  • Adaptive Project Framework (APF)
    • Developed in the early 2000s.
  • Event Chain Methodology
    • Introduced in the early 2000s. Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS): Developed in the early 2000s for scaling Scrum.
  • Kanban
    • Introduced in the early 2000s by David J. Anderson, adapted from Lean manufacturing to software development.
  • Agile Manifesto
    • Published in 2001, establishing the principles of Agile methodologies, which include Scrum, XP, and others.

Various Timeframes

  • Lean
    • Originated post-WWII but has been applied in project management variously since then.
  • Scrum of Scrums
    • Developed as a scaling mechanism for Scrum, more widely adopted in the 2000s.
  • Incremental and Iterative Development (IID)
    • Traces back to the 1950s but formalized in various methodologies thereafter.
  • Big Bang
    • Lacks a specific origin but has been used in ad-hoc and startup settings.


From the construction-focused origins of CPM in the 1950s to the Agile revolution in the 2000s, the landscape of project management methodologies has undergone significant transformations. Adapting to industry requirements, technological advancements, and organizational cultures, these methodologies have been pivotal in shaping the project management domain. They not only chronicle the evolution of management thinking over the years but also underscore the constant search for better ways to achieve project success. Today, as organizations combine and customize these methodologies to fit their unique needs, the rich tapestry of project management continues to expand, promising even more innovations in the future.