Do Project Managers Need to Be Technical?
The theory is that once you become a trained project manager, you can manage any project, regardless of the industry. Using the skills acquired in becoming a proficient project manager, it’s assumed that you can be successful in meeting deadlines, assigning tasks, managing stakeholders, communicating with stakeholders, etc. However, in today’s increasingly technical world, it’s becoming more critical to also have some technical background to be effective.
A technical project manager does more than the typical project manager; one who is PMI-certified and manages projects related to a variety of functions and outcomes. The Technical Project Manager still needs the same skills as any other project manager, but also requires more of a computer and information systems background. They manage projects that involve a high level of technology, using people with varied levels of technical skills.
Technical Project Managers don’t actually need to be able to perform all the roles of those on the project, but it helps if they understand the activities and skills needed to perform them. It’s helpful to know what the technical environment is (development, staging, user acceptance testing, production) and what’s involved in a deployment. Also, in today’s online world, technical project managers today should know about synchronizing websites, apps and other tools together.
Technical PMs Need More than Technical Skills
The successful Technical Project Manager must go above and beyond what’s involved in his or her training as a project manager and even more than their background and experience in the technology field. They must have the additional soft skills of managing tasks and individuals with the goal of finishing the project accurately, on time and within budget.
One advantage of assigning a technical project manager to an IT project over a non-technical person is that the technical PM thinks like IT professionals. They are familiar with some of the quirks and unique attributes of typical IT people, understand “techno-speak” and recognize when people may be hedging to avoid conflict.
There is a gap, of sorts, that exists between techies and business people. The language of developers, architects and others on the technical side will differ from that of the individuals on the business side, like functional experts and product managers. The new tool or app that comes up will likely cause a lot of excitement among the techies, while the business side will delight in profits and revenue building activities.
In summary, an effective Technical Project Manager will be able to balance both sides of the spectrum, with the ultimate goal of getting the project completed successfully. Their primary responsibilities are to communicate to their team and the stakeholders and to manage the activities of the project. They also need to be a liaison between the technical and business sides. Technical Project Managers usually report to upper level managers, so they must be comfortable in providing status and reports when requested. They must be good listeners, able to discern whether there are critical issues or if a minor tweak will put the project back on track.
Let E3 Consulting Provide Technical Project Management
E3 Consulting has over 30 years of experience in technical project management, helping businesses in the industries of Manufacturing, Distribution and Professional Services rely on us to manage their projects.
Whether you’re in need of project oversight or detailed implementation, E3 Consulting will provide comprehensive services to manage your projects to a successful completion on time and on budget. We have the knowledge of best practices as well as technology and development required to complete your project on time and within budget.
What really separates E3 Consulting from all other Senior IT Project Management firms is our rare combination of experience, empathy, and execution. Call E3 Consulting at (732) 735-6429 today to ensure your project is successful.