McAfee Secure

Elements of Technical Management

Exam: CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Elements of Technical Management
A technical effort can be defined as any activity that has an effect on defining, designing, building, or executing a task, requirement, or procedure. All the activities required to design, implement, and execute the systems engineering process are technical efforts. Technical management of those activities is required to progress efficiently and effectively from a business need to the deployment and operation of the system.

A project is defined as a planned, temporary (it has a beginning and an end) undertaking to create a unique product or service. Project management can be defined as applying knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a broad range of activities to meet project requirements. You may have heard of the "big three" of project management:

  1. Time (schedule)
  2. Cost (budgeted versus actual)
  3. Quality (performance)

The challenge for those managing projects, and in system engineering the technical efforts, is to provide a quality product, within budget and on time. Adding scope and risk to the three attributes would make it the "big five." Another important project management attribute is to understand and meet the customer's needs and requirements.

The question is: can it be done? Do you have the right skills to provide this type of support to your customers? Before answering, first think about this question: Does the ISSEP® need to have project management skills? In this domain, we explain some basic management elements that every ISSEP should know when supporting a project. Although you may not write the PERT chart, you still need to know what it is and how it is used in the project. Thus, the ISSEP should have some basic understanding of managing a technical project.

The systems engineering management involves two major activities. The first is planning the effort. The second is managing the effort, which includes organizing tasks, directing activities, monitoring progress, and reporting status as appropriate. We focus on the primary systems engineering activities involved in planning and managing the project, the technical roles and responsibilities, the types of technical documentation needed, and technical management tools available to help manage the project.

  1. Planning the Effort
  2. Managing the Effort
  3. Technical Roles and Responsibilities
  4. Technical Documentation
  5. Technical Management Tools

In the first section, "Planning the Effort," several key project planning issues are outlined, such as defining the project's goal, scope, and resource requirements. "Managing the Effort" involves directing and monitoring the various activities and tasks, and reporting the project status. The "Technical Roles and Responsibilities" section defines the key players and their roles in managing the project. In the fourth section, we explain a very important document, the Systems Engineering Management Plan (SEMP), as well as the Statement of Work and Work Breakdown Structure. The final section, "Technical Management Tools," briefly introduces the Gantt chart and the PERT chart.