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Lessons from Past Project Managers: Frederick Winslow Taylor

Claudio Gutierrez

Claudio Gutierrez

President & Founder — Valens Project Consulting

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Welcome back to our “Lessons from Past Project Managers” series! Last time, we talked about Henry Gantt. And today, we are turning the spotlight on the life and legacy of Frederick Winslow Taylor. He was a man who completely changed the way we think about workplace efficiency and productivity.

 

So, let’s check out what Frederick Winslow Taylor did and how his learnings continue to inspire project managers today.

 

Who was Frederick Winslow Taylor?

Frederick Winslow Taylor (some called him the father of scientific management) rose to fame in the early 20th century. He started his career as an ordinary steel factory worker, but his sharp observation skills and out-of-the-box thinking helped him quickly move up the ranks. Taylor was motivated to make industrial processes better and faster.

 

In 1911, Taylor published his most famous work, “The Principles of Scientific Management“. This book was the blueprint for most modern project management practices.

 

Taylor’s approach was not based on guesswork but on facts and objective analysis. He broke down every task to find the most optimized way to get it done. His ideas about timing and standardizing tasks were revolutionary back then and still influence how we manage projects today.

Frederick Winslow Taylor’s impact on Industrial efficiency cannot be overstated.
Valuable insights for PM’s from Frederick’s legacy

Frederick Winslow Taylor left us with some valuable lessons that still matter for project managers.

 

Focus on efficiency and productivity:

Taylor showed us the importance of dissecting each task and asking, “Can this be done better and faster?” As project managers, we should always look for smarter and more efficient ways to get things done.

 

Make decisions with data:

Taylor was a proponent of using facts to make decisions. This approach is even more relevant in our world full of information, where project managers can use analytics to make informed decisions.

 

Standardize tasks for consistency:

Taylor introduced the idea of standardizing tasks (or doing things a certain way) to keep them consistent and efficient. Having standard processes can help maintain quality and efficiency across different projects.

 

Invest in team training:

Taylor also believed that a well-trained team was a winning team. In project management, investing in team training and development is critical to making sure our projects succeed.

 

Don’t overlook the human aspect:

Even with his focus on efficiency, Taylor never lost sight of the human side of project management. He knew it was important to think about what the workers could do and what they needed. Today, we balance being efficient with being empathetic to and supportive of our team members.

 

Final Thoughts

Frederick Winslow Taylor’s ideas have stood the test of time. His focus on efficiency, thorough analysis, and data-driven decisions are still what guides us as project managers.

 

At Valens Project Consulting, we value the insights from past project management pioneers like Frederick Taylor. Our consultants use these teachings with new methods to deliver successful project outcomes. So, if you want to improve your project management with proven techniques, contact us today!

 

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