What to Look for in a Technical Project Manager

Project Management + Technology

Today’s digital age has made technology such an important aspect of any organization, allowing processes to become more efficient and quick. Given its key role, it is no surprise that businesses are now employing people who are adept at information technology (IT) and similar fields. Technical project managers, in particular, are gaining more recognition in the project management field.

Nowadays, the term “project manager” is extremely broad as this can refer to a Technical Project Manager (TPM), General Project Manager, Agile Project Manager, and others. TPMs are relatively new in the field, but essentially, they are in charge of IT-related projects. As the position name suggests, they do the same work as general project managers but have technical knowledge and expertise in areas like app development, software configurations, and the like.

TPMs are in high demand these days as businesses seek to incorporate technologies into their operations. However, choosing the right person to fill in the role is crucial to ensure they have the right characteristics and qualities needed for the job. To help you find the right TPM for your organization, here are the technical skills and behavioral traits to look for.

Technical Competencies

project manager working at white boardIn terms of technical competencies, TPMs need the same skills that are required from traditional project managers. These include:

  1. Organizational Skills
  2. Decision-Making Skills
  3. Problem Identification and Solving
  4. Time Management
  5. Analytical Skills
  6. Critical Thinking
  7. Leadership Abilities

What sets TPMs apart from other project managers is they also need more technical competencies to perform their job. Aside from the skills mentioned above, these are job-specific qualities to look out for:

IT Knowledge and Expertise

Most TPMs have a degree in an IT or engineering-related field. Ultimately, what you are looking for is someone with a sound understanding of technology systems and infrastructure since the nature of their job is to work with projects that use these systems.

Balance Between Practical and Technical

A common mistake that many make when looking for a TPM, is to focus solely on a candidate’s technical expertise. Though you generally want to look for this first, effective TPMs must be able to balance this knowledge with project work to ensure that they still follow deadlines and budgets.

In a way, you can think of it as balancing creativity and logic. TPMs think outside the box to solve problems and facilitate projects, but they have to do this while also considering feasibility.

Communication Skills

At first glance, communication may seem like an obvious trait to look for in a TPM. However, the important thing to consider here is that you want to find someone who can also speak in non-technical terms or explain technical terms in a simple way.

Remember that a TPM focuses on projects that involve technical systems, but they still work with many other people from different departments. Smooth communication can ensure that project deadlines are met and tasks are done effectively, so the project manager must be able to break down the complex information into something more understandable.

 Behavioral Competencies

 Aside from technical competencies, TPMs must also possess certain personality traits and characteristics to perform their job effectively. Some of the most important behavioral traits to look for would be:

  1. Negotiating Abilities
  2. Creativity
  3. Team Player
  4. Effective Communicator
  5. Honesty and Integrity
  6. Innovative Mindset

Overall, a TPM can help you manage and facilitate your tech projects to ensure fast and efficient results. Choosing the right person to take up the role can affect the whole project’s outcome, so being aware of what skills and traits to look for will be integral. In summary, the competencies needed are similar to those in a traditional project manager, but with the addition of technical expertise.

At the PJF Group, we have recruited and placed MANY TPMs successfully and we have a great pool of candidates. Contact us today to discuss your hiring needs.