Project Management Concept: Frederick Winslow Taylor

Capital investments and major developments in a business are implemented through a project; the success of a project depends on how well it has been planned for, implemented, monitored and controlled. When developing a program, it is important to have a full cycle of project management which are planning, organizing, securing and managing resource; the cycle is the same in different projects but follow each other in a chronological order (Wynant, 1980).

Projects utilize funds so they need to be well evaluated to ensure the results they bring to an organization are beneficial. Different projects call for different approaches; they require distinct technical skills, expertise, funding and adoption of strategic project management approach applicable to the particular project. Despite the strategy followed, there are common processes that a well-managed project is likely to follow (Anderson, 2010). This paper discusses stages of project management; it will discuss the topic sending some light to Frederick Winslow Taylor theory of scientific project management.

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915)

Frederick Winslow Taylor was a renowned American mechanical engineer and a scientist in project management; he coined the concept of scientific project management, he was motivated by the need to create efficiency in project management to ensure that projects maximize available resources effectively and yield positive results. He emphasized on attainment of set goals and objectives by a project. According to the scientific theory, a project is interpolated as an ongoing process that has different stages; each stage contributes to the whole well being of the project, the theory further states that a project should follow a certain period and the management team should endeavor to ensure that the project is completed within the time prescribed.

The theory main part of emphasis is on efficient management and ensuring that projects have been managed effectively without misusing funds or resources. When financing a project, there is needed to ensure that the resources whether financial or otherwise have been allocated in the best combination possible. Project managers should be working with a budget that they endeavor to satisfy. In every stage of project management, there are efficiency tools that need to be implemented; the whole sum efficiency can only be attained if different stages have been addressed for efficiency. According to the American mechanical engineer, if there is inefficiency in one stage of project process, the inefficiency is spread throughout the project (Kanigel, 1997).

Project process

The process of a project starts from planning and ends with closure of the project after the goals set have been attained. Through different projects call for different approaches in management, the underlying concept is the same; it may be conducted differently but the results should be the same. The following is the process of project management:


Initiation is the first stage in project management, at this stage, the scope and nature of a project is determined; when the stage is not effectively done, chances that the project will not meet its proprietor’s goals and objectives are minimal. At this stage, the project manager should ensure that he understands all underlying factors that are likely to affect the project, factors affecting a project may be positive or negative, and they may emanate from inside a company or external.

The stage is more of a forecast and laying a plan that will be used in the future to see the project a success; the stage also involves taking an analysis of the current business situation and developing measure that can be used in making the project a success. In scientific approach, the stage sets some goals within the main project goals the following are the main objectives of initiation stage:

  • Analyzing of the current operations and trends, this is the point that the role that implementation of the project will play is analyzed.
  • Using measurable goals and performance outcomes, the current needs in a
  • Taking a Financial analysis of the costs and benefits; this is the point that project budget is drafted
  • Analyzing the capacity of an organization in terms of Stakeholder analysis, including users, and support personnel for the project
  • Undertaking and drafting Project charter; project charter looks into costs, tasks, deliverables, and schedule

Having the basics and the corner stone of the project, then the company has a clear vision of what it want to do and which path it is going to follow to attain the goals and objectives of a project (Andersen & Vaagaasar, 2009).

The following diagram shows the activities undertaken in initialization stage:

 Initialization stage

Planning and development

At this point, project manager has the idea of deficits that is in the organization and know the project that can be implemented to see the organization benefit, with the data and information, the manager at this roles plans on how to attain success in the project. According to Frederick Winslow Taylor, decision should only be made after a scientific interpolation of the information gotten; his theory is of the opinion that success in managing a project can only be attained if there is good collaboration among the team members.

Planning is the main stage in projects that can take some time; it involves the following activities:

Determining how to plan

Planning itself need to be planned, at this stage the manager analyses the information and the project ahead of him and decides the best approach he want to use to see to successes. The decision at this stage involves the team members to be involved, services to be outsourced, and sensitization to be done, seeking internal authority and external authority, and establishing an operation base (Huiling & Xin, 2008).

Developing the scope statement

The coverage of the project and the areas that will be affected are analyzed, there should be proper documentation of the project and how it will affect different areas. If the project is in an ongoing organization, any interference that it might cause to the firm are well explained and if any litigation measure to be taken it is taken.

Selecting the planning team

A project is attained through collaboration of number of people, managers, supervisors, people on the ground and any contractors. The team and its combination should be selected and given the specific tasks that they are wanted to perform in the organization.

Identifying deliverables and creating the work breakdown structure

With the team at hand, the project charts and work breakdown schedules are developed, plan to give what will be done when and at what time is developed; it is important to note that some tasks can be delayed to future data and other are dependent on completion of other all this factors should be taken into consideration.

Identifying the activities needed to complete those deliverables and networking the activities in their logical sequence

Some tasks may be special and require experts, the kind of experts to be contracted and at what time they will be contracted is planned. There are times need for research on availability and costs of contractors are sort to ensure that a contract is entered early enough.

Estimating the resource requirements for the activities

With the required team, and the resources that will be required, the next step is to analyze the amount of resources and finances that will be required for the completion of the project.

Estimating time and cost for activities

Other than the general stipulated time, at this point the manager is in a better situation to determine the amount of time required for the completion of the project. The costing points and activities are determined and measures implemented to ensure that there will be proper monitoring (Zhou & Chen, 2008).

Developing the budget

After determining the cost points and all related expenses that will be incurred in course of the project, a budget that consolidates all the costs is prepared, the budget should analyze all the areas that the project will fulfill and ensure that expense floors and ceilings are made; since the future is unpredictable, it is important to have flexible budgets.

Risk planning

There are different risks that can occur in projects: some risks can be prevented in the planning stage through adoption of the right policies and methods however some risks cannot be overseen and thus uncontrollable. Come measure to reduce loss from some risks include insuring the project.

After the planning stage, the project now is set to get running, all required parameters and information has been documented and measures to litigate any risk taken (Senaratne & Sexton, 2008).

Project implementation and execution

This stage is only undertaken when the project manager is confident that he has his tools to go; it is the actual setting the program running. The manager should ensure that all the needed resources both physical and human resources are available; incase there is a deficit in any one area, the main analysis that the manager should do is to understand how long the project can run without the resources lacking. Frederick Winslow Taylor theory of scientific management advises that a manager should have a schedule that explains when and what amount of resources will be needed at want particular time.

Then before he let the project go, he should have ensured that there are enough mechanisms and plaices to see the project have required resources at any one time. The theory further advises that it is inefficient that to have all the resources needed in a project at once but they should be delivered when needed. A just in time materials and resources delivery should be adopted; this will save on costs like warehouse costs (Radosavljevic & Horner, 2007).

The stage has the project plan and schedule as the main drive, the project team should ensure that it combines human capital, different phases and experts in a way that leads the project to success.


When the project is running and undergoing different stages to accomplish the main goal set, there is need for monitoring and control. Monitoring does not mean supervision but includes supervision, it is where a manager offers guidelines, and measures stage results and appraise the outcomes that the project is giving. The stage is important since it helps to keep the project in course; incase there is any deviation between the expected result in a certain period of time or the budget set, the difference should be analyzed early enough so that a solution can be sort (Pons, 2008).

The following are the main objectives of this stage:

  • Measuring the “where we are and where we want to be”; this is a measure if the ongoing of a project activities
  • Monitoring and evaluating the project variables; the main variables of a project are cost, effort, and scope, against what had been planned (where we should be interpolation);
  • In case there are issues arising then identify corrective actions to address them (How can we get on track again);
  • In case, the project seems to be impossible and leading nowhere, then change the entire project.

The following diagram analysis the activities undertaken in control and monitoring process:



This is the last stage of a project management task; at this stage the project manager lead the team to evaluate the success they have attained. It is a stage where reports and final touches like any rights of use are attained. It involves both project closure and the termination of initial contract engaged.

The following diagram illustrates the process of project management process:


Advantages of using Frederick Winslow Taylor theory of project management

  • The emphasis of the theory is on efficiency in resource utility and how well the project is managed and monitored; with proper management of resources, then resources can be saved and the cost of the project minimized.
  • Since project has various stages, the theory recommends on piecemeal evaluation of efficiency; this assists a company to stay in course and give chance for project managers to work on any deficit brought about by the system.
  • The theory aims at focusing a project on its main objectives and goals; it looks into main parameters of a project, which are costs, time and deliverables
  • The emphasis on efficiency demands for proper planning and monitoring of a project and the final benefit is a successful project.

Disadvantages of Frederick Winslow Taylor scientific theory

  • The theory assumes that all variables can be documented and decisions made in a scientific manner; it thus ignores past experience and experiences, it focuses more on interpolation of information at hand
  • The theory can make a project trail for a long period since it calls for in-depth analysis for every parameter in the efforts of determining the most effective approach (Kanigel, 1997).

Applicability of Frederick Winslow Taylor theory in modern world

Resources are limited; they need to be managed efficiently and effectively to see needs of world growing population satisfied. The emphasis on efficiency as brought about by Frederick Winslow Taylor theory is required in modern life, whether at an individual project level, firms and companies level as well as at country level. The theory remains relevant and applicable in modern projects. Particularly the point of the theory that emphasizes that management for efficiency should be at stage level to have a final project emphasis is important (Leu & Lin, 2008).


Projects are temporary engagements that have five main stages they are initiation, development, enactment/implementing, monitoring, and closing. To complete effectively a project cycle, having attained set objectives and goals of the project, project managers must have developed strategies for effective implementation. Frederick Winslow Taylor developed the theory of scientific management where emphasizes for high levels of efficiency in all stages in a project development. The theory though developed in the early 1900’s is still applicable in modern project management.


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