Many experienced professionals would like to start their career as a Technical Project Manager. This could be a wise decision, but it is always important to know exactly what the role entails and what are the career benefits before you take it up seriously. You need to know what the job description would be, what skills are expected to perform the role, what would be the average salary you would be earning, what would be the responsibilities, what is expected from that role, and so on. Read on to know more!
A Technical Project Manager is someone who can be looked at to be more of a technical professional and less of an inspiring leader. They may be good leaders though and could also be instrumental in providing project planning and management for established initiatives, such as planning and management of IT-related projects, within a company. They ensure that projects are completed as per specifications and most importantly within an established time frame and budget. A Technical Project Manager is the lead SME (subject matter expert) within the company for all technology-related concerns and in turn, they would recruit and train additional support members.
So, if you’re looking for a career as a Technical Project Manager, you are, first and foremost, required to have a high level of mandatory technical expertise. Good organizational, leadership and communication skills are also essentials for this role. Consider earning a certification in PMP to upskill yourself.
What Does a Technical Project Manager Do?
Responsibilities of a Technical Project Manager include but not limited to:
- Developing a project plan which includes developing an approach of how to execute, monitor and control and close a project.
- Developing a project schedule as a part of planning activity (timelines) showing project start date and end date, all the activities sequenced, how many resources are working on each activity, what is the duration of each activity, estimated cost of each activity, milestones, and understanding the critical path of each project to control project completion on time.
- Ensuring training processes are established and then implementing them for all the technical professionals.
- Determining what are the intermediate deliverables and the final product.
- Defining clear roles and responsibilities for all team members
- Conducting regular team meetings to review status of the project and also to help address issues and/or challenges during the course of the project.
- Detailed research and evaluation of hardware and software technology options for every project
- Updating and maintaining all technologies installed on production.
- Helping in recruitment to fill positions within the technical department and then further training all employees and new recruits.
- Developing technical, user and training documentation
How To Become a Technical Project Manager?
1. Educational Qualifications
Technical project managers are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field, which ensures that they would be having an in-depth understanding of complete software development process (SDLC). They may also add qualifications such as courses in management information systems (MIS) as an added advantage.
In recent times, it is expected that these professionals also hold an MBA degree, which takes two years to complete. MBA can be studied and completed while working (Earn and Learn). This matters a lot, because work experience is also equally important. A technical project manager would already have put in several years of working experience (say 5-7 years) before they take on managerial responsibilities.
Since every organization in the world uses computer systems, technical project managers can have industry-specific experiences. An IT experienced technical project manager in a manufacturing environment, is unlikely to become a systems project manager in an educational industry later on in the career.
2. Professional Qualifications
Apart from the above-mentioned educational qualifications and industry experience, it would be a great advantage if a Technical Project Manager adds a Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential from Project Management Institute (PMI)® to his/her professional qualification.
3. Benefits of PMP
- Widely recognized Project Management Certification
- Worldwide recognition of your knowledge of Project Management practices
- Demonstrates Proof of Professional Achievement
- Improves the way you manage your Project.
- Increases your Marketability.
- Displays your willingness to pursue Growth.
- Increases Customer Confidence
- Valued Globally across Industry Verticals & Companies
In order to apply, however, you need to meet the following criteria:
|PROJECT MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE
|PROJECT MANAGEMENT EDUCATION
|Secondary Degree (High school diploma, associate degree or global equivalent)
|Minimum five years/60 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 7,500 hours were spent leading and directing the project*
|35 contact hours of formal education.
|Four years degree (bachelor's degree or global equivalent)
|Minimum three years/36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 4,500 hours were spent leading and directing the project*
|*Leading and directing the project as identified with tasks, knowledge and skills specific in the project Management professional Examination Content Outline. Experience must be in all five-process group across all your project management experience submitted on the application. However, on a single project you do not need to have experience in all five process groups.
Your experience leading and directing projects does not refer only to an official project manager’s role, but it can include any of the roles listed below:
- Project Lead or Team Lead
- Assistant Project Manager
- Project Planner
- Project Coordinator
- Project Expeditor
- Any other lead role on a project, which involves managing a small sized team by leading and directing an area of a project
Note that you don’t have to be involved in planning a large or complex project in order to be eligible to apply for PMP. If you have been involved in arranging charity functions or small events, even that counts!
You must also note that PMP uses waterfall (Plan-driven) methodology to complete projects. The current trend in the industry is that many corporates and organizations are moving to implement Agile methodology, as it is change-driven. This means that changes can be incorporated in the project at any time, and they will be catered to. In the case of Plan-driven waterfall methods, changes if any will have to be carefully managed at the end of the project after the final product is delivered.
In short, it means that a Technical Project Manager in the current scenario must be aware of both the methodologies and the technicalities associated with each. PMI has a credential for Agile practitioners, the Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) ®, which can be also obtained.
What’s The Average Salary for a Technical Program Manager?
Those who are starting their career as a Technical Project Manager, i.e., as an entry-level professional, can expect to earn a salary between $60,000 to $65,000 p.a.
- In case you have experience between 1 to 4 years, you can earn a salary between $75,000 to $80,000 p.a.
- A mid-career Technical Project Manager with experience between 5 to 9 years usually earns a salary between $90,000 to $95,000 p.a.
- A senior Technical Project Manager with a good number of years of experience, such as more than 10 years, can earn a salary of up to $105,000 p.a.
And those who have 20+ years of experience, can earn up to $120,000+ p.a. as it also depends on how you negotiate.
Note: Salaries mentioned above may vary from country-to-country.
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Technical Skills Requirements-
A number of skills are considered as essential skills for a Technical Project Manager.
- A very clear understanding of the organization’s strategy and objectives is essential.
- Before starting the project, knowledge of the project objective(s), what are we delivering and what the organization is seeking out of it – returns, growth, reputation, relations, knowledge base etc is needed.
- Conduct benefit-analysis with relevant stakeholders to validate project alignment with organizational strategy and expected business value (Is this our cup of tea? Is it contributing to our mission?)
- Accountability when managing projects.
- A thorough understanding, developing and managing project policies, procedures, templates and other shared documentation (organizational process assets i.e., organization’s knowledge base)
- Supervising teams and decision-making capabilities
- Experience in up-skilling and re-skilling talent in the project management as well as in technology areas
- Ability to predict and overcome challenges and obstacles.
- Strong competencies such as learning, systems thinking, trustworthiness, time management, adaptability, business acumen, industry knowledge, organization knowledge.
- Apart from these competencies a Technical Project Manager should also possess excellent verbal communication, non-verbal communication, written communication, listening and pro-active skills.
- Skills such as facilitation, leadership and influencing, teamwork, negotiation and conflict resolution and teaching would also add value.
- All the above competencies should be supported by hands-on skills using office productivity tools and technology, project management tools and technology and most importantly communication tools and technology.
Sample Technical Project Manager Job Description Template
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Responsibilities for Technical Project Manager
- Establish and implement training processes and strategies for all technical personnel.
- Analyze, plan and develop requirements and standards in reference to scheduled projects.
- Assign and oversee the daily tasks of technical personnel while ensuring all subordinates are actively working toward established milestones.
- Hold regular technical team meetings to determine progress and address any questions or challenges regarding projects.
- Determine and define clear deliverables, roles and responsibilities for staff members required for specific projects or initiatives.
- Research and evaluate hardware and software technology options and weigh the cost/benefit analysis when making large purchases on behalf of the company.
- Recruit and train exceptional employees to fulfil posted positions within the technical department.
- Update and maintain all production technologies ensuring proper maintenance and installation.
Qualifications for Technical Project Manager
- Master's degree in project management or related technical field required.
- Professional Project Management Certification from accredited institution preferred.
- Demonstrated understanding of Project Management processes, strategies and methods
- Experience mentoring, coaching and developing rising talent in the technology department.
- Excellent time management and organizational skills and experience establishing guidelines in these areas for others.
- Strong sense of personal accountability regarding decision-making and supervising department teams
- Experience working in a high-level collaborative environment and promoting collaborative teamwork.
- Managerial experience applying analytical thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Ability to predict challenges and seek to proactively head-off obstacles.
A Technical Project Manager is required to have a high level of technical expertise as well as good organization, leadership and communication skills.
Any other lead role on a project who is involved in managing a small size team by leading and directing an area of a project can play the role of a Technical Project Manager.
Responsibilities of a Technical Project Manager include developing a project plan, developing a project schedule, defining clear roles and responsibilities for all team members, detailed research and evaluation of hardware and software technology options for every project, updating and maintaining all technologies installed on production, for proper maintenance and installation, etc.
The minimum educational qualification of a Technical Project Manager should be a degree in science or computer science or any equivalent Global degree or an MBA. A professional who is PMP or PMI-ACP certified will be the icing on the cake.