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Topics: Change Management
Do you agree that Project manager who has come through the ranks of Functional/technical skills delivers the project on time???

A project manager is incharge of the Project in every respect so there is no question as why do we need a project manager in first place if that is the case.Everything stops or starts at his table be it Project plan,Scope ,Budget,Resouces etc etc.
So if that is true then he is directly responsible for the Projects Success/Failure.
Here Failure is nothing but Project didnt complete on time.
The Question is Do you Hire /Work with a Project manager/Manager who has only Project management skills or Management Skills to offer may be gained through many Yrs of experience,Certifications,Top MBA colleges in the world OR Do you want to work with a Project manager /Manager who has come through the ranks ,say being a Consultant,Senior consultant ,a Solution architect then Project manager/Manager in Software development projects to take an example ,In short the Project manager is Technically very Sound & keeps himself updated with Technical Know-how,here the question also extends to all departments in the company where a Senior management is directly hired without technical knowledge or has minimum ,say 1-3 yrs???
The first option gives a Highly seasoned Project management practitioner with all the Knowledge,methodology ,tools & techniques at his disposal ,updates all the documents regularly,meetings ,blames the team for not delivering on time,throws the team in front of Client,sits backs & njoys to note down start/end date,Sits quietly in technical /all meetings as dont know what to communicate,Client overpowers the Project manager etc etc.
The second option gives a sound technical knowledge project manager,understands the scope inside/out,able to communicate the technical gaps with the Client,able to communicate both ways with internal team & Client during meetings,has the confidence of the team at his disposal ,guides the team to success.
Iam with the second option as the technical knowledge of project manager is utmost important as it decides how the project pans out in the end & ready for next business.No change requests at the last moment,no delay in completing the Functional/technical artefacts,No lack of confidence talking to the Team/client/stakeholder etc.
Also the Technical Project manager who has come through ranks but doesnt keep himself updated hands-on is as good as a normal Project manager.
There are so many other factors like highly skilled team with right character,nature of project,Culture etc etc. which determines Success/Failure of Projects/Work.
Here the focus is not only on Project manager but managers working in all departments,Say HR Department in a rather harsh way or The human Brain doesnt have the capacity to manage both Technical hands on & Management,if we keep time aside in complex difficult projects/Department work.
Please share your personal thoughts on live Projects/All Departments/Company Itself,can take the discussion as broad as possible with all types of Projects/Departments under the sky???
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Coming up through the “technical delivery ranks” to be a project manager is a path that (if managed properly) can be of great value for you in your future PM endeavors. However, it can also be something that hinders your growth for greater PM opportunities.

When you come from the “trenches” and become a PM, you often have a predisposition to believe that no one other than a “technical PM” could accomplish the management of a technical project. If you have this belief, then you might be a “hands-on, get your hands in the technical details – PM.” If this is the case, then many would say that you are more of a “technical lead,” than a PM.

However, if you take your technical delivery skills and cast them into “architectural business and IT knowledge,” then you can focus your efforts on being a PM. You will then stand-out in the ranks of PM’s as an individual who also has domain knowledge, thus providing you the agility to navigate issues and concerns quicker and more efficiently than another PM who does not have such knowledge.

This is largely a mindset change, but it will make your project-life more comfortable. Your manager/director may see you as more of a technical lead, and that may be part of the problem. If you show him your pure project management skills and then represent that your domain knowledge is a value proposition for the reasons I already stated, then your relationship with him and the respect he has for you will likely change for the positive.

Of course, I could be completely off in this regard, but those are my thoughts from my own experience.

It has to do with lots of factors. George's comment is important as well.

I don't agree with this statement. When the PM does not have a technical background simply he would not be allowed to take decisions that are technical in nature and those decisions would be taken by someone else. Whether these decisions are taken by the PM or by a senior SME the risk for failure is the same.

The problem is that a PM without a technical background has a less important role in the success of the project.

Many PMs with no technical background congratulate themselves for the successes they have in their projects and also say that technical background is not needed to be successful as a PM. In reality these PMs don't really take crucial decisions in their projects and act more like facilitators helping others to take the best decisions.

Hi Rakesh,

I will give another scenario – everyone knows how recruitment functions operate. Some companies have hired sales guys to handle/run the recruitment function. The reason given was, sales guys look it purely from a number point. They chase sales and are number driven. In the process of running behind numbers maybe your quality of hire could be hit. But you have to try to see success or failure. Same thing could happening in your project management scenario as well. Technical PM could handle technical aspects well, whereas the functional PM could be overpowered by the client. It is no more about what and who is right, companies want to bring in new thought process, newer ideas, experiment with approaches, getting a person into a role, could be a well thought out and collective process – seldom people working in middle management are made aware of it. During such times, the company rally behind the new approach to succeed. We can take positions, learn and grow from there on.

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