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Project management skills: Earn the technical respect of the team

Your project management skills won't take you far if you can't earn the technical respect of developers and testers on your IT team.

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Earning technical respect helps a project manager communicate better with the software team. Mickey W. Mantle and Ron Lichty cover this topic in their new book, Managing the Unmanageable – Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams. The book notes that programmers are more motivated and more likely to stay on the job when project managers have earned the programmer's technical respect.

The book lists the following ways a project manager can earn technical respect:

  • Understanding the art of computer programming
  • Having a good track record
  • Making some notable technical contribution
  • Keeping up with technical trends and technologies
  • Being an active member of technical or professional organizations
  • Demonstrating strong personal values

There are many opportunities for IT professionals to come by project management skills. One is to take advantage of learning from online publications such as SearchSoftwareQuality and participate in online groups or local user group meetings. Learning programming skills and the tools and techniques that developers and testers use helps project managers speak the same language as team members and more clearly understand the issues and obstacles that the team is facing. This clear understanding is a key to earning technical respect.

Mantle and Lichty offer much more advice about motivating development teams, which ultimately will lead to successful software delivery, such as the importance of earning technical respect. The advice and guidelines offered in the book are useful and relevant for project managers as well as resource managers.

This was first published in December 2012

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