In my field as a developer, I’ve found that when working with technical project mangers there can be miscommunication on priorities and level of effort of projects or tasks. This seems to stem from a lack of strong technical background and understanding of the specifics required to complete each tasks. Because I serve as a manager of developers, I’ve often considered whether I would be able to step in as a project manager to help my team and company and I would have the technical background in order to understand the process.
I found this article titled “Can a Technical Developer Find Happiness as a Project Manager?” (link below) that addresses this very issue and I found it very interesting with some thought provoking questions that address my exact position. I serve as a technical manager but often fill a need as a project manager in certain situations. This article indicates that this is often the case with technical managers but that they are often not happy serving in that manager role.
Personally, I have found managing people to be very fulfilling and hope to continue on this path but I do find the role of project management interesting and a new challenge. But I also think the role of a technical project manager could be a new challenge with opportunities that I do not currently have a technical manager. With the experiences I’ve had with technical project managers, it seems that there is a gap when it comes to technical experience that could be filled by former developers moving into that role.
The problem we all encounter though is how do we deal with stakeholders and people with unreasonable expectations. Would the technical background provide more credibility with stakeholders and then more weight to the validity of estimates? Or would it make no difference? Has anyone encountered this kind of situation? Did you see more success when dealing with clients and stakeholders with technical expertise?
Of course, technical expertise must be paired with strong communication skills. I’ve found that those with strong technical skills but weak communications skills can still be as ineffective (or potentially worse) than someone with strong communication skills but weak technical skills. It also is common for developers to lack those strong communication skills. I feel that I’ve bridge that gap well but it may not be as simple for other developers hoping to move into management roles. I know a few technical managers that lack the soft skills often required to be successful at managing across disciplines.
Has anyone else moved from a solely technical role to a management role? Have you found it fulfilling or are you restless? Have you served as a project manager on some level? Is this something you would consider pursuing?
Article Link: http://pmtips.net/technical-developer-find-happiness-project-manager/