Friday, September 28, 2007

Should a project manager be technical ?

I had a heated discussion in one of the companies where i was a chief guest. Oh yes friends now a days people have started calling me to cut ribbons....But nothing great about it. The main discussion focus was do project managers need to be technical.

I think they should understand what developer wants to say. Its possible they are not hands on , but when there are technical issues they should be able to provide solution. One thing i have noticed a Technical PM is respected a LOT than Pm's just handling people issues. Its like if time comes the General can take this sword and fight. So yes a PM should be in touch with technical.

Every PM in this company ( where i went for inauguration) blasted at me how the HELL can PM be technically strong.....But its their opinion. But the TL and Developers after the function met me and said they respect PM who can give solution rather send emails.....


Hemil said...

Hi Shiv,

I agree with you that its always an advantage to have a PM with a development background. He/She may not be completely hands on but atleast he/she should appreciate the problems faced by developers and the brilliant solutions provided by them.

It would not be right to expect them to be completely hands on and code with the latest technolgies but atleast they should know the areas in which the answers exist and should be able to contribute to the team effort when stuck. He may not have answers of "How to do" questions but he should most of the times be able to define the problem and answer the "What to do" questions.

The problem is that, most project management courses teach students to view everything generically as a process which needs to get done on time and on budget. Be it, constructing a brick wall or writing an interface between two heterogenous systems. This is a very wrong approach because of the complexity of the underlying problems.

I have worked with PMs both from technical and non-technical backgrounds and though both the variety were commited to their jobs and meant well for their project, the technical PMs were definitely an asset and had an edge.


Shivprasad Koirala said...

Thanks Hemil for your comments. Good and very well said. He should not know "how to" but should know "what to"

Anjana Ramamoorthy said...

true...i had blogged on similar opinion here sometime back