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Managing software engineering projects requires an ability to comprehend and balance the technological, economic, and social bases through which large software systems are developed. It requires people who can formulate strategies for developing systems in the presence of ill-defined requirements, new computing technologies, and recurring dilemmas with existing computing arrangements. This necessarily assumes skill in acquiring adequate computing resources, controlling projects, coordinating development schedules, and employing and directing competent staff. It also requires people who can organize the process for developing and evolving software products with locally available resources. Managing software engineering projects is as much a job of social interaction as it is one of technical direction. This paper examines the social arrangements that a software manager must deal with in developing and using new computing systems, evaluating the appropriateness of software engineering tools or techniques, directing the evolution of a system through its life cycle, organizing and staffing software engineering projects, and assessing the distributed costs and benefits of local software engineering practices. Ths purpose is to underscore the role of social analysis of software engineering practices as a cornerstone in understanding what it takes to productively manage software projects.