What is technical project management? Plus skills and salary

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 11 October 2022 | Published 30 November 2021

Updated 11 October 2022

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Project management is a broad term that encompasses various kinds of work within various industries. Technical project management involves overseeing of technology development and production and uses many of the same skills as project managers. Understanding the responsibilities of this role and the skills necessary to be successful can help you determine if it's the right fit for you. In this article, we discuss technical project management, explain the skills for this job and review how to become an effective technical project manager.

Related: How to become a project manager

What is technical project management?

Technical project management is a subset of project management that is specific to technical or IT-led projects. Project management involves coordinating the entirety of a project from the development stages through to completion. A technical project manager works on IT-related projects across multiple industries, such as engineering, IT and manufacturing. The job holder typically has different responsibilities depending on the size of the company and the sector it's in, though common responsibilities given to a technical project manager include:

  • analysing and approving technical project proposals

  • planning all stages of a project

  • scheduling steps within a larger project

  • delegating tasks to team members

  • scheduling and leading regular team meetings

  • creating and implementing a project budget

  • training IT staff members for a project

  • exploring and analysing software and hardware options for technical projects

  • testing, maintaining and updating the production technologies

Skills needed for technical project management

Technical project management requires a specific skill set. To successfully manage IT or tech projects, professionals may develop the following hard and soft skills:

Communication

Technical project managers require communication skills to do their job effectively and it is necessary that they possess them. Without effective verbal and written communication skills, it would be difficult to collaborate with people and manage a project. Good technical project managers use communication to lead, explain processes and execute business strategies.

Related: What are communication skills?

Delegation

Delegation describes the act of splitting various tasks between a team of people. Technical project managers use delegation to allocate work to particular team members or departments. When done successfully, a manager may distribute responsibilities to staff based on their strengths, which the project manager actively learns. If you're managing an IT project, for example, you might give the responsibility of coding to someone who understands the coding language. Delegation improves staff performance and productivity because it ensures they assign the right people to the right tasks.

Related: Top 9 leadership skills to develop

Leadership

Technical project managers typically lead groups of professionals to complete projects effectively. Strong leadership skills can help project managers motivate and inspire their team members. Leadership skills can also help a manager delegate effectively, mentor others and coach a team for success.

Related: Leadership Models: What Are They and How Do They Differ?

Organisation

Project management involves supervising and directing all stages of a project. This requires careful organisation and acute attention to detail. Technical project managers can use organisational skills to ensure a team completes tasks correctly and on time.

Related: What are organisational skills? (With examples)

Time management

Time management is an essential part of being a technical project manager. They can use time management skills to design project schedules and plan for deadlines. Project managers may manage multiple projects at once, or they might have long- and short-term steps they need to complete. This can involve managing multiple deadlines and responsibilities. Strong time management skills can help technical project managers prioritise tasks and complete projects by the deadline.

Related: Time-Management Skills: Definition, Examples and Tips for Improvement

Financial planning

Technical project managers manage project budgets and funds. This involves analysing all costs of the project and creating a set amount for each part. They may adjust and reduce costs in certain areas to maintain the budget.

Related: How to build a financial model (with definition and tips)

Problem-solving

Challenges can arise during a technical project, and the project manager has strong problem-solving skills to find effective solutions. This can involve analytical reasoning and creative thinking. The technical project manager first assesses the challenge and then thinks adaptively to solve it efficiently and in a cost-effective way.

Related; Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

Negotiation

Technical project managers negotiate various factors during the project. They might negotiate contracts with vendors, suppliers or employees. They might also negotiate deadlines and payments with a client. Strong negotiation skills can help project managers solve technical problems, reduce costs and secure funding.

Related: The 7 most effective negotiation strategies in business

Strategic planning

Strategic planning involves setting priorities to reach short-term and long-term goals. Technical project managers design goals using measurable indicators. For example, if they want to increase downloads on a new software project, they can track the number of total downloads each day. Creating individual and team-wide goals can increase efficiency and project success.

Related: Guide: What Is Strategic Planning? (With Benefits and Steps)

Technical skills

Besides having the skills of a project manager, a technical project manager calls on several other specific technical skills to do their job. They would normally possess an understanding of IT, computer equipment and a variety of industry-specific software programs. They may also have knowledge of coding languages and programming or engineering.

Related: Technical skills: what employers look for

How to be an effective technical project manager

Here are the steps you can take to become an effective technical project manager:

1. Focus on communication skills

Having excellent communication skills is an important part of being a good technical project manager because it ensures people understand you and respond to you better. The best project managers are always seeking to improve their communication skills. Attending a course that improves these kinds of skills or regularly practising can dramatically improve verbal communication abilities.

2. Consider a certification program

Motivated project managers often develop their technical knowledge and skills by attaining relevant certifications. These can further your industry knowledge and teach you useful management techniques. Think about enrolling in such a program to enhance your technical project management skills.

3. Strengthen leadership skills

Successful technical managers lead and motivate their team members. Consider strengthening your leadership skills by attending a training course. You may also volunteer as a coach or mentor. This can be a great way to develop leadership skills and become a more effective manager.

4. Practice adaptability

Remaining versatile and flexible means being able to minimise the disruption caused by sudden change. When managing technical projects, budgets, timelines and strategies can change at short notice. By being adaptable, technical project managers can manoeuvre changes and keep a project on a path to success.

5. Set specific goals

Setting goals is a central responsibility for project managers and ensures their projects are successful. Technical project managers assign clear, actionable goals and measure progress towards achieving them. They may set goals for individuals, entire teams or both. For example, it might be necessary to create a goal for the team to create a new product before a particular deadline. They could set individual goals within the overarching goal so that each team member is doing their part.

6. Celebrate successes

Effective technical managers celebrate their team's individual and group successes. You can offer praise when you notice a team member achieving something or going above expectations. You can also share progress on common goals and offer a reward or celebration for accomplishing them. This can create a positive culture, improve morale and increase productivity.

What does a technical project manager's CV look like?

To make sure you're presenting yourself professionally and standing out from the crowd when you submit your CV and portfolio, here are some tips on what to include:

Contact information

Make sure your contact information is up to date and clearly visible. The information you provide includes at least a phone number and an email address. You can also put a headshot of yourself on your CV, which employers often appreciate.

Work experience

List a minimum of five years of previous work experience. You may also provide the names of the companies, the duration of your employment and your duties while employed. You can also take this opportunity to describe your key achievements.

Education

Include your qualifications and the grades you achieved. Also, consider providing the awarding organisations' name, their locations and the dates they awarded the achievements. This highlights to the employer why your education suffices to qualify you for the role.

Key skills

Make a bulleted list of your key skills so that employers can see if you're suitable for the position even if they only glance over your CV. Show your key skills align with the desirable attributes laid out in the job advert. Examples of such skills include interpersonal skills and time management skills.

Certifications

List any relevant certifications such as a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) qualification. This shows employers that you have gone beyond the minimum requirements to qualify yourself for the position. It also conveys that your knowledge base surrounding technical project management is large.

Technical project manager salary range

Technical project managers' average salary is £51,874 per year. This can depend on your experience, location and how much work you do. Experienced, full-time technical project managers may make more depending on the company and location of their employment.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

Related:

  • What does a technical project manager do? (Role and salary)


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