Project Management

The software engineer and the project manager provide complementary skills and work collaboratively on shared activities. The three main activities of the project manager are organizational liaison, personnel management, and project monitoring and control. The "Liaison" section discusses the project manager's role as a go-between for the technical team and agents who are not members of the technical team (such as project sponsors, users, IS management, vendors, and so on).

In the "Personnel Management" section, you will learn that this job entails working with personnel and human resources to hire, fire, and provide employees with professional development.

The "Monitor and Control" section explains that project monitoring involves tracking project progress relative to budget. Project control means implementing changes when progress is not satisfactory (such as training or revising project plans).


The role of the software engineer (SE) differs from the project manager in that the SE provides technical expertise, while the project manager provides organizational expertise. Depending on the size of an organization and project team, one person might perform both roles. Small project teams (Le., less than five people) and organizations with limited software development staff (Le., less than 10 people) expect one person to assume both software engineer and project manager roles. The larger the organization, the more likely the functions are split and the more extensive each person's experience is expected to be. 

The project manager and software engineer are responsible for tasks that include both complementary and supplementary skills. In general, the software engineer is solely responsible for management of the life cycle, including the following areas detailed in Chapters 4 through 14:

  • Management and conduct of development process 
  • Development of all documentation 
  • Selection and use of computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools 
  • Elicitation of user requirements 
  • Technical guidance of less skilled staff
  • Assurance that representation techniques, such as data flow diagrams, are correct, consistent, and validated 
  • Oversight of technical decisions 
  • Assurance that constraints (e.g., two-second response time) are identified and planned as part of the application

Complementary activities are activities that are performed jointly but with different emphasis depending on the role. Complementary activities include planning the project, assigning staff to tasks, and selecting from among different application alternatives. 

The project manager (PM) is solely responsible for organization liaison, project staff management, and project monitoring and control. These major responsibilities are discussed in this chapter.

When one person or another is identified as solely responsible for some activity, it does not mean that they alone do the work. The SE and PM are team leaders who work together in all aspects of development. The SE may have project management experience. Sole responsibility means that when a disagreement occurs, responsibility for the final decision rests with the responsible person. Different management styles determine how open a manager is to suggestion and discussion of alternatives. A short discussion of appropriate behaviors for project managers is also included in this section. These behaviors are the project manager's responsibility toward the project. 

FIGURE 3-1 Example of Too General a Plan

First we discuss the joint SE and PM activities. Then we discuss activities for which the project manager is solely responsible. Management styles and a brief discussion of project manager responsibilities to the project team are included in the section on personnel management. The last section lists computer-aided support tools for project management.

Source: Sue Conger,
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