Like the river in the valley, the Tao is never dried up. The Tao's motion continuously provides, continuously emptying but never exhausted. It is always present within you. You can use it any way you want.
It was made obvious in the very first chapter that the ethereal path that is the tao and the manifestations produced – the processes, the artifacts, and everything else a project outputs – are two completely separate things. We were made aware of the need to work to understand both.
Why we need to understand both in order to be effective hasn’t been directly said. I feel the reasoning behind that obscurity is simple – there’s a fundamental truth here that’s more fun to realize after you’ve read in this far.
Since chapter 1, though, we’ve spent a lot of time discussing how the tao applies to individual aspects of a project. We’ve gotten pretty focused. It’s time to zoom out a little.
The tao is not an attribute of the project, it is pervasive, it transcends the project. You are an engineer. You do things. In many ways, your are an embodiment of the tao. It is always present within you, it always has been.
The project is (usually) very anti-tao, it has nothing to do with the tao and likely does it’s best to ignore it’s existence :).
The only element that exists in both of these spaces is you.
You must understand both, because you are the proxy. You bring the tao to the project, and you help steer the project towards the tao.
The other fundamental truth here is you can use it any way you want. Since the tao transcends the project, this is not the only project you can apply it to. Follow the tao and there will always be something to do, even after this project has run it’s course and been reclaimed.