Its Origins and Significance in Project Management
The origins of histograms date as far back as the 1890s, which was traced in a compilation of lectures attributed to a famous statistician named Karl Pearson. Accordingly, the term itself was coined by Pearson by compounding the Greek word ‘isto-s’, which means masts or long and upright vertical shapes, and ‘gram-ma,’ which denotes a form of writing. It can be inferred that the term histogram was used to differentiate the chart from the bar graph, a similar analysis tool that was devised and introduced several years ahead.
A bar graph merely depicts the data by presenting different categories in separate bars. The bars of a histogram, on the other hand, represent continuous data for a specific range that are measured in terms of frequencies and intervals; thus, the bars are connected to each other. Its primary purpose is to present a graphical depiction of the approximate distribution of the statistical data that was gathered.
As a visual aid, it’s an excellent instrument for reducing large sets of data into bars that show the peak levels or density of distribution. As the succeeding years saw further developments in scientific knowledge and disciplines, the use of histograms became an integral part of statistical analysis for technological, industrial and financial purposes.
Its popularity resurfaced during the advent of the “Total Quality Management" philosophy and of the “Six Sigma" project management methodologies. The histogram has often been mentioned as one of several quality improvement and management tools used for determining productivity as well as profitability.
As an introductory to this guide, having an in-depth understanding of its significance as an analysis tool will help learners discern how project managers use it in coming up with improvement goals and in managing project resources. Readers will find helpful insights from the following related articles: