Project Management with Reference to the Construction of the Roman Aqueducts

2119 Words Apr 5th, 2008 9 Pages
The Roman engineers were the first in history to discover that proper management of men and resources could greatly decrease the time it takes to complete a construction project. The management structure the Romans employed on their many public construction projects was very simple, but very effective in communicating information through the appropriate channels. Coupling this management structure with previous experience, the Romans were able to increase the efficiency of their endless labour force. Given that no scriptures on the topic of project management have been discovered, it is hard to know whether the Romans knew exactly what they had achieved. However, even though they are more complex, the processes used today can be quite …show more content…
The next level of men consisted of contractors and foreman that supervised small crews of men. The foremen had to have a very good understanding of what they were being asked to do and how to organize their crews to work as efficiently and fast as possible. Foremen were also required to physically demonstrate to the men being supervised what they were expected to do and probably administered discipline to men for poor work. Another branch of men , not directly related to physical work, lead to the engineers. This branch contained the levellers and surveyors. They worked under the engineer and maintained communication with the contractor but they did not really fit between either. These men were educated in a variety of subjects but especially math. The surveyors used simple tools to perform very important elevation calculations and with the engineers they plotted the paths of the aqueducts. They communicated with the contractor(s) to explain the path and the slope that the labours were being asked to construct.
The most important people in the construction team were the engineers. Everything that happened on the project fell to them to deal with. For this reason Vitruvius gives many examples of things that engineers needed to know and should have studied, including math and some unusual topics such as philosophy and music (Vitruvius: On Architecture, 2006). The engineers “enjoyed high