Published here, September, 2001.

Introduction | Pyramids | Scope Creep | Management
Implications | Craft-Work | Thinkers | Future

Technical versus People Management

A particular and major breakthrough was the development of "network analysis" and the concept of "critical path". This grew out of the US Navy's complex Polaris program and NASA's Apollo program in the fifties and sixties. For many years and even to the present day, the critical path method, or CPM, and its associated "probability" techniques have been viewed as the essence of project management in terms of planning and controlling project performance.

More recently, however, we have seen a definite shift to the "human" side of project management and the incorporation of techniques essential for dealing with people equitably and effectively. At the same time, there has been a growing recognition that the creation of large physical projects, such as facilities and infrastructure, are not the only types of project to which these techniques can be applied. Indeed, projects can be many and varied, including "intellectual" type projects such as the introduction of new administrative systems, attitude changes and even cultural changes have been attempted in some organizations.

Today, we have a much better understanding of the holistic aspects of project management. For example, we know that project management and corporate management have fundamentally different orientations as indicated in Table 1. Specific differences between "project' and "enterprise" management are shown in Table 2. We also know that a "project" is essentially a "process" which leads to the delivery of a "product" within the confines of certain "constraints".. Occasionally, the term "project" is used loosely in substitution for the term "product", but this inevitably leads to confusion.





Continuity defined by
sets of Objectives


Change defined by
sets of programs


defined through Strategies


Defined through sets of projects



achieved through Tactics


Achieved through sets of Tasks


achieved through consistent Activities


Achieved through variable Effort


result in
continuous product


Results in
unique product

Table 1: A Hierarchy of Management Orientation

(Period based)

(Plan-Accomplish based)

Output is defined within department's responsibility

Objective is an exception to the usual routine

Desired results are generalized, influenced externally

The required result becomes specifically identified

Goals and deadlines are general

Goals and deadlines are specific

Routines are related

Activities are related

Management based on market forecasting

Management based on project forecasting

Reporting based on long-term financial accounting

Reporting based on short-term project accounting

Products are identical and in large quantities

Specific product is unique
(or very limited)

Table 2: Enterprise versus Project Management

We know too that this project process is susceptible to the application of a systematic and logical sequence. In its most basic form, this may be described as "Plan first, then produce". The benefit of applying such systematic logic is that the process itself may be improved in its performance.

***  Scope Creep

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