This makes the technical project manager able to assess the length of a task based on his own experience. This allows them to get straight answers and good work out of employees non-technical project managers would classify as hopeless, negative, or uncooperative. He is responsible for completing project-related operations to handle tasks like code reviewing and debugging. For example, a toy manufacturer could have a different project manager to handle each new product it introduces. A Technical Manager manages technical resources (developers, equipment, etc) to create technical outputs (e.g. high-quality software) to meet the technical requirements of a particular product or project. When both roles are treated as one and the same something gets lost. In many small companies, there is usually no dedicated Project Manager. I often find it’s common to merge the role of “tech lead” and “technical project manager”. With these two roles distinctly defined and backed on a project, then that project is set up to meet and exceed expectations, client and business alike. Each project manager might have more than one project coordinator to take care of all the tasks involved with advertising, making the new toy and distributing it to stores. Indeed many of the project managers contributing to this debate described how they had worked on increasing their technical knowledge when taking on a project in a new area. The team loses their technical resource, or the project loses its champion, or the objective shifts constantly between the two. How to Structure Teams for Building Better Software Products, Books that every engineering manager should read, 10 Signs That You Are Not Ready to Be an Engineering Manager Yet, bring the technical knowledge and understanding to the table — know how things generally work and what you’re talking about, be quick to respond and confident in making fast (but solid) decisions, know the status of all the moving parts at all times and be aware of surrounding factors, Block — preventing things like project gold plating and other negative impacts to the project, Unblock — getting the team what they need to continue making progress while keeping the client looped in and contributing along the way, Redirect — tapping into a wealth of expertise across the team while also empowering others to take ownership of the work and contribute back to other team members, Decide — evaluating options, risk, and correlation with overarching project objectives, to make swift decisions, Show — demonstrating knowledge and value to both the team and the client to effectively be the trusted point person; the instrumental cog between all the stakeholders. When that occurs, the Program Manager, Product Manager, and/or Technical Lead often fill the gap. Where the two roles significantly diverge is in the overall objective. A project manager without those technical skills can’t make that contribution, unless they seek to build those skills as part of preparing to lead the project. A technical project manager IS a project manager, the only difference between the two is that the former possesses some technical skills relevant to the project. In fact, the leadership attributes David Byttow outlines in his “Effective Technical Leadership” article are relevant for both: Thank you Devin for sharing this with me. The technical lead is primarily focused on supporting the engineering team. In general, the need for a TPM varies between companies. The technical program manager is a very unique role. There are amazing engineers who, as tech leads, help drive project success by coaching their team members and ensuring the strength of development. The project manager is primarily focused on delivering a successful project — the project champion, if you will. Technical Program Managers should be building and maintaining engineering delivery timelines, unblocking engineering teams, defining and streamlining cross-functional dependencies, and increasing efficiency and velocity of project execution. Technical Project Managers are usually more aligned to the IT industry, where they understand the technicalities and inner workings of this industry, more like techno consultants with Project Management experience. The technical lead is primarily focused on supporting the engineering team. A project manager without those technical skills can’t make that contribution, unless they seek to build those skills as part of preparing to lead the project. But the project manager is responsible for that success. Where the two roles significantly diverge is in the overall objective. But the different motivations manifest in different applications of the activities. A Project Manager/ Delivery Manager would more be leaning towards meeting clients and attending clients needs whilst getting the team running smoothly. The Project Manager’s success can be evaluated based on how close to on time and on/under budget the project … He may not have a lot of exposure in client handling. Technical Project Manager: A technical project manager has a larger scope as compared to the project manager. To make that happen, I find it requires the technical PM have similar attributes as such a tech lead, doing similar activities, and performing similar actions. The activities of a tech lead and a tech PM are similar and largely spent in the five core activities Byttow outlines: blocking, unblocking, redirecting, deciding, and showing. Good project managers are essential in many industries. A technical manager would be more towards a team lead/ tech lead who has a lot of knowledge in the technical scope. Sure, there are many similarities between the roles. All Technical Project Managers are Project Managers, but not all Project Managers are technical Project Managers. For a technical PM this can mean: In my experience, both roles are important and necessary to consistently deliver up to par. It is expected from a technical project manager that he must have hands-on experience concerning technology. Indeed many of the project managers contributing to this debate described how they had worked on increasing their technical knowledge when taking on a project in a new area.
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