Interface management includes the activities of defining, controlling, and communicating the information needed to enable unrelated objects (including systems, services, equipment, software, and data) to co-function. Most new systems or services require external interfaces with other systems or services. All of these interfaces must be defined and controlled in a way that enables efficient use and change management of these systems or services. Therefore, the practice of interface management begins at design and continues through operations and maintenance.– Definition
Interface management happens in three key areas:
This interface can occur anytime two people are working on the same project. There is a potential for personal problems or conflict to exist. When the two people operate under the same line manager, the project manager usually has limited authority (unless they are their superior) and must call the line boss to settle disputes. Suppose the people are not in the same line or discipline project manager takes the role of negotiator, with the power to get line management to resolve the problem if required. Issues in the personal interface are even more challenging to solve when two or more managers are involved; therefore, the project manager must be capable of dealing with all conflicts that affect people in or related to the project.
The organisational interface is probably the most difficult to deal with because it involves people and involves organisational goals and conflicting executive techniques. Conflict can occur on the interaction because of variable team goals and misunderstandings of the technical language used within each corporate team. These interfaces are mostly management interfaces dealing with activities, decisions, or authorisations affecting the project; however, they can also involve units outside the immediate organisation or project.
The system interface deals with the product, facility, construction, resources, or other types of non-people interfaces within the system itself or developed by the project. Some of the interfaces may include schedule problems where information passed on from one task to another is incorrect or delayed, which can throw the project schedule off. Many of the technical issues generated as the project progress are of this type. System interfaces are critical to the project’s success. The project manager must deal with them, but not to the exclusion of the personal and organisational interfaces. Because of their technical backgrounds, many project managers tend to over-involve themselves in specialised system interfaces to the detriment of individual and corporate concerns.