What Is Technical Project Management? (With Helpful Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 December 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.

Technical projects management is the process of overseeing information technology tasks. A technical project manager is a professional who uses their leadership, organisational skills and time management abilities to ensure deliverables meet set standards. If you're interested in becoming a technical project manager, learning more about technical project management can be beneficial. In this article, we explain what technical project management is, detail the skills managers can use, explain steps you can take to be successful, answer common questions and provide helpful project management tips.

Related: What Does an IT Project Manager Do? (With Skills and Salary)

What is technical project management?

Learning the answer to "what is technical project management?" can help you determine if you want to become a project manager and learn how to improve your skills. Project management is the monitoring of the tasks and objectives within a project, and technical project management is the same process, but for IT-related products and services. A technical project manager likely has more experience and knowledge about technology than a standard project manager. These are some tasks a technical project manager may perform daily:

  • evaluate and refine technical project proposals

  • plan all stages of each technical project

  • schedule steps within a larger project

  • delegate tasks to team members

  • schedule and lead regular team meetings

  • create and implement a project budget

  • train IT staff members for a project

  • explore and analyse options for technical projects

  • test, maintain and update production technologies

Related: 15 Project Management Skills Every Manager Should Have

Technical project management skills

As a project manager, focusing on your skills can help you improve your performance, ensure the timely delivery of products and potentially increase your earnings. The specific skill requirements can vary depending on the situation and your position. These are some skills that can help you excel in any technical project management position:

Communication

Communication is one of the most important skills technical project managers can develop. Effective verbal and written communication is a crucial part of managing a project. Technical project managers use communication to lead teams, explain goals and responsibilities and discuss business strategies.

Delegation

Delegation is the act of dividing tasks and sharing responsibilities with others. A technical project manager delegates parts of a project to certain team members or departments. Successful delegation involves learning more about team members' strengths. For example, if you're managing a technical project and you have a team member with excellent coding skills, you might delegate coding tasks to that professional. Delegation can improve team performance and productivity.

Related: How to Write an IT Project Manager CV (With Template)

Leadership

Technical project managers 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 towards success.

Organisation

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

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. 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.

Financial planning

Technical project managers understand how projects can affect a company's profitability. They use financial planning to ensure profit goals are reasonable and achievable. Financial planning is the process of assessing the company's current financial situation and setting goals for future profits.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to assess a situation, understand the components and causes of a problem and suggest viable solutions. This is important for technical project managers because they often help their teams overcome delays and obstacles during projects. For example, the manager may help software developers approach an issue in the coding process and help them become more efficient.

Negotiation

This is a communication skill that's important for technical project management. It allows the manager to communicate with vendors and reach a compromise that all parties can agree upon. Negotiation can help a project manager ensure team efficiency while spending less on their materials and labour.

Technical skills

Technical project managers work closely with the technology they produce, so it's important that they understand how it works. A technical project manager may be more successful when they can help software developers approach problems in the coding or revision processes. Having technical skills is also important for project managers because many of the tools they use are computer-based, including spreadsheets, integrated calendars and scheduling programmes.

Related: Project Leader vs. Project Manager: Key Distinctions

How to be an effective technical project manager

Depending on your educational and professional goals, you may follow a different path to becoming a technical project manager. Here are the steps you can take to become an effective technical project manager:

1. Consider a certification program

Many technical project managers further their technical skills and develop industry knowledge through a certification programme. This can help professionals learn effective management strategies. Consider exploring certification programmes in project management to develop your management skills.

2. 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.

3. Practise adaptability

Adaptability is the ability to be flexible and accept change. During a technical project, deadlines, priorities and funding can change. Technical project managers develop adaptability skills to solve problems, refine strategies and manage shifting priorities.

4. Set specific goals

Goal setting is an important part of being a successful technical project manager. Setting clear, actionable goals for each IT project can help improve team productivity. Consider setting actionable goals that you can easily measure and track over time. You can set and share individual goals and goals for the team. For example, you might create a team-wide goal to design a new software by a certain date. You can also create a goal for each member of your team related to their individual tasks.

Related: 8 Project Management Roles (With Typical Responsibilities)

Frequently asked questions about technical project management

Learning more about technical project management can help you determine if you want to pursue it as a career. These are the answers to some questions about technical project management:

Why is technical project management important?

Technical project management is important because it allows managers to divide tasks and determine how successful each endeavour is. Project management focuses on timelines, budgets and productivity, and offers managers the control to ensure each project is successful. In technical project management, this includes ensuring the team completes software projects before their due date and verifying the quality of each piece of technology the team produces.

How much can a technical project manager earn?

A technical project manager's salary depends on their experience, education and performance. The average base salary for a technical project manager is $46,141 per month. Technical project managers may earn more by improving their performance and creating strong professional relationships with their supervisors.

What is cost variance within technical project management?

In technical project management, cost variance is a term that refers to the financial success of each project. It's an important part of project management, as it allows the manager to compare their project budget to actual expenses. To reach an ideal cost variance, the total amount of expenses is less than the budgeted expenses.

Related: How to Write a Project Management Cover Letter (With Example)

Tips for effective project management

Becoming more effective at project management may help you advance your career. These are some helpful tips for managing projects effectively:

  • Implement metric tracking systems: Metrics is an important tool in project management because they allow you to understand if your systems and changes improve productivity or not. By implementing metric tracking systems, you can better understand how your decisions affect quality and production.

  • Perform risk management tasks: Assessing potential risks can help technical project managers understand the weak points in their systems and improve them. Creating contingency plans can help you effectively manage risk.

  • Define each team member's role: When each person on a technical project team understands what their role is, it can help the team function together better. Create a document that outlines each member's duties, so each person understands their goals.

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.

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