This post will give you an idea what skills and knowledge are required for project managers and whether technical expertise is the protein or a spice.
So, you are communicative, confident, fluent in English and love to have everything planned right down to the last painstaking detail. Sounds like a great foundation for being a project manager, but there’s just one little thing standing in your way. You’ve never thought of yourself as an IT person. So, the million dollar question is: can you become a project manager in IT? This post will give you an idea what skills and knowledge are required for project managers and whether technical expertise is the protein or a spice.
Many people underestimate the role of soft skills when imagining project managers in technical industries. That’s too bad! It isn’t strictly tech knowledge that makes or breaks you as a good PM in the IT industry. Netguru teams are perfectly aware that soft skills often distinguish a good project manager from a bad one. I’d like to give you a few examples of how soft skills prove valuable in IT project management in the simplest possible way – by referring to my own humanistic background and the skills it gave me. However, you might be surprised by the plot twist at the end :). Let’s roll!
Once upon a time
Were you to travel in time and ask a 7 years younger me just finishing MA in Polish philology, whether I imagined myself in IT, I would have laughed out loud. But here I am, managing the web and mobile application development process! Just because this is where I landed doesn’t mean there weren’t all kinds of other jobs that I dreamt of at one time or another…
(User) stories well told
When I was a child, I wanted to become a writer. Well, you don’t have to plan your own bestseller to become a good PM, but a certain articulation and ease-of-expression definitely helps when it comes to writing. For example, in writing good user stories. The ability to render a client’s vision of a product in words, address different types of users appropriately, deal with multiple approaches and scenarios does in fact resemble writing a novel.
There’s certainly a world of difference between a client who is a one man startup and one that is the entire product management department in a large company. You will think of a product differently depending on whether it’s addressed towards tech-savvy youngsters or seniors just stepping out on their adventure with the Internet and mobile apps. You need to be understood by your audience (developers, testers, clients) in order to create something worthwhile.