The distinction between technical and managerial information in a project is critical in understanding eXtreme project management. To understand a project and manage a project, you must make a distinction between the information dealing with the business aspects of a project and the information that represents the technical issues such as the development technologies and deliverables that are being developed in the project.
In the broadest sense of the term , all professions deal with technical information. The structure, components , and behavior of the human body form a highly technical set of information studied by doctors . The complexity of legal processes, precedents , and law is another set of technical information required by lawyers . The rules, procedures, and legal issues in business accounting provide another example of technical information understood by accountants . The complex policy, analysis, and assessment issues associated with implementing competency-based assessment are as technical as any information system design. In computing, the techniques of systems modeling, systems design, data design, programming, testing, and integration are examples of technical information. To develop and normalize an entity-relation model, to program in C++, and to design a DB2 database are highly technical skills that are required to develop information systems.
As shown in Figure 3.1, the project management of a project has a different but related focus and is driven by a different set of information that is not technical in the pure sense, but rather represents the business and managerial context of the project. The technical and managerial aspects of a project are integrated through the scope, objectives, strategy, and quality requirements of the client. We call this set of information a business case (see later).
Figure 3.1. Two information sets
The effective management of a project requires a balance between and integration of the content (technical deliverables, tasks , internal dynamic) and the context (managerial, political, social environment) of the project.
As discussed in Chapter 2, "Project Management Evolution," the emergence of specialist project managers who are not involved in the technical detail of the project is a recent innovation in other areas such as construction and engineering. The project manager's focus must be the context, not content.