Technical Skills vs Management Skills

In this topic on many resources were written dozens of articles, most of which are reduced to the general conclusion that there is no need to have technical and management skills. The project manager (as well as the manager in principle) doesn’t need technical skills because managers should execute their tasks and organize the team’s work through soft skills. And these statements are difficult enough to argue.

But such a statement doesn’t suit everyone. Three scientists Benjamin Artz University of Wisconsin, Amanda H. Goodall City, University of London and Andrew J. Oswald of the University of Warwick decided to test how the technical skills of the manager affect employees.

In particular, 35,000 respondents from the United States and Great Britain asked a number of questions to find out:

  • Can the manager do their work in case they need?
  • Has the manager grown from within the company of specialists?
  • What is the level of the technical competencies of the manager from the employee’s point of view?

The results were to some extent expected. Employees felt much happier at work if their manager was a person with serious technical expertise and profound knowledge of the business.

The findings, which lead to data, suggest that one of the key factors in the employee’s satisfaction level is a highly competent leader. Based on the above statistics, even wages have less influence.

And any HR will tell you about how the productivity depends on the satisfaction.

Although the study itself was published in 2015, many IT companies came to a similar conclusion empirically, which led to a fairly large number of project managers with development experience.

If you go back to our story, then for the former business analyst and manager to study technical things is quite difficult, because he doesn’t always know which direction to move.

What should managers who don’t know how to write code do?

Of course, they should not neglect the development of soft-skills, precisely because it is through these skills that the manager can do his job, bringing value to the team’s work, but also should not neglect at least a survey study of the technical aspects of development.

Where one finds the boundary in the growth of his personality as a technical expert, one defines himself. Many are sufficiently “lacking” a very superficial level, although there are people who provide a cool team result and manage to write code. By the way, there are actually a very few people, and often it turns out that there is one thing.


Igor Grigorenko

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