Does software project manager need technical skills?

Does a software project manager need technical skills? It’s a question that HR recruitment teams are asking themselves daily, as they attempt to decide which type of individual is best for such a demanding role. The rise of project management as an integral component of successful software development has created a need for specialized project managers. While the need for technical skills is widely acknowledged, its exact nature remains the subject of debate. This is something that Sybil Fawlty, a veteran project-management specialist with over 25 years’ experience, has been researching for her new article.

Current research indicates that technical skills are essential for software project management success. A study conducted by PMPros Academy (2020) found that the most successful software project managers typically possess both strong technical abilities and skills in communication, problem solving and organizational management. Similarly, Thomasnet (2021) found that sharpening technical knowledge and incorporating best practices from other software engineering disciplines helps software project managers deliver projects on time and within budget.

Sybil Fawlty is perfectly positioned to share her insights on this topic. Over her 25-year career, she has specialized in project management for software development projects, with an emphasis on data-driven software engineering and development collaboration.

In this article, you will learn how technical skills play a vital role in software project management. We’ll discuss the key technical skills a project manager needs to succeed, how technical project managers can become indispensable to their teams, as well as the benefits of leveraging data-driven development cycles in order to develop a smarter, more efficient software development process. In addition, we’ll consider current trends in software project management, as well as how to develop a team culture that encourages successful software development. Finally, the article will include practical advice on how to address potential software development problems quickly and effectively.


Software Project Manager: A software project manager is a professional responsible for the planning, organizing, monitoring, and controlling of software projects. They are accountable for managing the budget and timelines of the projects, as well as tracking progress, managing resources, and ensuring quality assurance throughout the process.

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Technical Skills: Technical skills are abilities related to the use of technology to create, manage, and analyze data. Examples of technical skills include programming languages, computer hardware and software, and database management systems.

The primary function of a software project manager is to direct and manage the projects with a focus on delivering quality results within specified timelines and budgets. Technical skills are essential for a software project manager to be successful as they must understand and leverages technology and software development tools in order to meet project goals and objectives. An understanding of software development languages is also required.

A software project manager must also have strong problem-solving skills, organizational ability, decision-making abilities, and strong communication skills in order to effectively lead and manage software projects. Additionally, software project managers must have the ability to manage stakeholders, including internal and external teams.

In short, software project managers need strong technical skills in order to lead and direct software projects effectively. Technical skills are not only a necessity in understanding the technology being used in the project, but also to assist in appropriately directing resources and personnel to meet project objectives.

Software project managers have a varied and expansive range of responsibilities that are essential for projects to succeed. One of the most important skills for a software project manager is technical knowledge. Having the familiarity with programming languages, software development techniques, and computer systems can vastly contribute to the effectiveness of a team’s output.

Developer Understanding

A good software project manager should have a good grasp of the development process. Knowing the basics of development practices, such as coding languages, object-oriented programming, and graphical user interfaces can assist the manager to understand how developers work and interact with one another. This knowledge also helps the manager to anticipate any new technologies that the team may be using and also to spot any potential problems that may arise.

Project Coordination

Having an in-depth comprehension of the technology component of projects, a software project manager can develop a plan of action that ensures successful project coordination. Knowing how the different components work together, the manager can easily identify how each piece of the puzzle works together to create a developed product. This is especially important during the debugging phase, as the project manager can easily detect any problems with the code and can coordinate with other team members to resolve them quickly.

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Technical skills alone are not enough to be a successful software project manager, but having such knowledge can make a huge difference in overall project success. Comprehension of the programming language and development process can provide the manager with the necessary tools to lead a team to their goals.

Having technical knowledge also allows the manager to recognize potential problems before they arise and to have solutions ready to mitigate any issues quickly. In order to keep projects organized and on track, software project managers should strive to have deep understanding of programming and technological development.

Skills and Knowledge

  • Familiarity with programming languages
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Computer systems and components
  • Development processes
  • GUI (graphical user interface)
  • Technical debugging
  • Problem solving abilities
  • Project coordination and management

“Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better programs, and the universe trying to build bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.” – Rich Cook

The role of a software project manager is essential to the success of a project. These professionals are responsible for managing the development and implementation of software, from initial planning and design, through to the ultimate delivery. While the job does not require any particular technical skills, it is essential that the project manager has a thorough understanding of the software development process, and the management tools needed to coordinate resources and ensure the successful completion of the project.

Good Understanding of Technology

When it comes to successfully managing the development and roll out of a software project, being able to comprehend different technologies and solutions is critical. A good software project manager must have a good working knowledge of the latest trends in software development, especially in the language of coding and development, and the implications of the latest developments to the project. They must be able to work with and effectively communicate with developers, understand the various technologies in use, and quickly identify any potential issues that may arise.

Ability to Lead and Motivate Teams

A major component of the job of a software project manager is leading and motivating a team of developers and other professionals in order to complete the project on time and on budget. Being able to effectively communicate the project goals, strategies, and timeline is essential. Being an expert in project management tools, such as Agile or Scrum, is also invaluable, as is the ability to adapt and adjust to challenges and setbacks. The ability to motivate and inspire a team to work hard, and to be patient but firm in navigating through difficult situations is essential.

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Finally, a good software project manager must be able to review the progress of the project and take corrective action if and when necessary. They must also be able to provide clear and concise reporting to senior management on the status of the project, and what the next steps may be. By having a thorough understanding of the development process, the latest technologies, and the ability to lead and motivate a team, a software project manager can help ensure the success of any project.


Project managers have long been an integral part of any successful software project. But what skills do they need to bring to the table in order to ensure every project is a success? In this article, we explored how technical skills play an important role in ensuring software projects are on time and within budget.

But the question remains, just how important are technical skills for software project managers? As technology continues to evolve and software becomes ever more complex, having a solid and diverse set of technical skills is crucial in order to ensure the success of any project. It’s worth considering how the role of a project manager might change and evolve in the future in light of an always-evolving industry.

Regardless of the changes that might take place in the years ahead, it’s clear that software project managers need to have a healthy set of technical skills to ensure a project runs smoothly and within budget. If you’re a project manager looking to sharpen your skills, be sure to follow our blog as we provide more insight into the topic and come up with fresh ideas. And keep an eye out for our upcoming releases for more thought-provoking discussions on the role of the software project manager.