How technical should a PM be?

Sep 10, 2008 | |
If you have been haunted by the universal question of how technical a PM should be; I'm glad there are people penning down their thoughts on this.

I have met employees and industry peers who are vocal about the fact that expertise in the domain knowledge is a must and then they are some who believe that you really don't need to.

If you read the resume of Project Manager's, some of them are not in the same domain as their college days. I have always been intrigued by the fact- does it really work? It's more of a personal reason you see, I currently work in IT and belong to the communications background. So, I'm always looking for people to attest to the fact that you don't have to be an engineer to manage an IT project.

I hope some day, I can interview PM's and know their opinion on this. Of course, it goes without saying that basic domain knowledge helps and if you are an expert, merrier it is. However, it's perhaps not a necessity.

My mentor 1 (yes, I have 2, 3 and 4) always encouraged me to get into PM and said it helped that I was from non-technical background because it allowed me to connect to my clients very easily and the relationship boosted the communication process.

As long as someone was telling me I could be a PM- I was happy. So, while reading through PM blog's I found this article on PM's technical expertise, click here to read more on the subject.

(Picture: Google images)


connymaniac said...

I don't think one has to be that deep into the technical world to be able to do it project management. I studied something completely different (political science, german language and literature and history) but then somehow got into the world of it.

The strengths of a PM is communication, translation (techtext into marketingtalk and vice versa), etc. When it comes to decisions about databases, coding language, etc. I ask my team, they're the experts.

I'm doing this job for almost 10 years and never had a problem. The secret is imho to always show real interest in anothers way of thinking and really be attentive when someone is explaining something.

It's the human factor that decides about the success of a project, not (only) the technical knowledge.

SIPM said...

Thank you very much for your insight and taking the time to post it here.