I love the transparency, so let me start with explaining myself. Currently I do work as a Project Manager, so my approach may not necessarily be the most objective. But I know the issue from the inside, so let me tell you my story.
I used to work with a Project Manager that has been a Developer before. Was there any difference as he wouldn’t have the technical background? Nope. Except all the communications fuckups.
I believe that same appeals to the management work. I understand if you say:
- Want to manage something? First you need to do it yourself.
And I understand when you think:
- Gain the respect of the IT-Crowd without coding? Impossibru!
And I wouldn’t either bet my head nor tail to deny it. But still, is coding really what the PM needs as their superpower?
Similary as the Front-end Developer from example above, Project Manager has a limited scope of responsibilities (surprisingly!) to cover with their knowledge, experience and the craftsmanship. Yep, I believe in management being a craft. So should the deep dive into technical stuff be required for real?
In most cases - not really. Being confident when it comes to terrific communication as well as the problem solving issue are both the main thing. If you include technical expertise as a must-have, than you may probably miss some of those soft skills that cannot be overestimated instead.
Even though, I would never trust a person that has no idea what is doing, so the general understanding of technical culture as well as knowledge on the project development process is a must-have. That is where the developer’s experience counts - how come will you understand their needs if you’ve never been a developer before?
I believe that Project Manager does not necessarily need to have an experience as a full-time, dedicated developer - although it may help a lot.
- Fine, but why shouldn’t the PM have any craftsmanship?
I believe that communication is a craft. Technically, you need to have deep understanding of the construcion of people’s minds, ability to be empathetic as well as strong imagination of what may they feel and what they might want. You need to practice the art til you gain the mastery and challenge yourself to reach each another level.