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Speaking - Organizational Design in PM

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Organizational Design in Project Management

Lessons from case studies from the Giza Pyramid Project

What can we Learn from the ancient Egyptians?

Conventional wisdom around 10 years ago viewed the Giza Pyramid project as one that was highly dependent on of thousands of slaves serving a merciless pharaoh and toiling in inhospitable conditions. The Giza Pyramid was constructed within a 20 year period entirely by humans and with no animal muscle power or basic tools (such as the wheel) that would be taken for granted today

This presentation analyzes the project and the organizational design of the workforce. The organizational constraints were related to a finite workforce (no slaves were part of the project), and to the difficult technical challenges and how these were met. For example, the hacking out and transportation of granite beams (43 were over 60 tons) a distance of 1000 kms. A varying mix of labour was used, that is skilled versus unskilled workers, and this continually changed depending on the schedule, tasks and their complexity, and whether technical innovations and engineering could reduce the techincal challenges and project scope. The presentation also examines how a conducive environment (superior food, healthcare, and housing) was created within the project and how this was used in influencing project outcomes by directing behaviors of the project workforce.

Audience: PMs, General business professionals

Egypt ancient-miners


Organizational Design in Project Management

Learning Objectives

The presentation highlights the important lessons from this project to a business audience. It shows how the ancient Egyptians:

  • managed the scope through innovation,
  • organized and managed the project workforce and stakeholders,
  • created deliverables within a specific time frame, to a predefined scope, and level of quality,
  • used concepts of contemporary project management came throughout the project.
Giza project pulling up blocks

The Benefits

The presentation creates a historical project baseline for comparative purposes to today’s projects and brings a wealth of lessons. Entertaining and full of intriguing historical details, the presentation highlights organizational teams in project management.

Giza granite blocks pulled up a ramp

Note: The presentation conforms to the internationally recognized standards of the Project Management Institute (PMI®). You will receive 1-2 PDUs (professional development units) upon completion.

Each presentation is based on the following publication.

Recent feedback from events: 

  • “Great presentation...Hope the Egyptian learn from their past...” Billa Dahaby
  • “This was fascinating- do you have a future ancient project and if so what is it?” Cathy Grube
  • “"Appreciate historical structures as PM successes"
History of PM book

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