TechPM – Technology or Management that is the question

Sometime back, I was a technical guy. Exploring design, architecture, getting hands on experience on new technologies. Today I am a pure Project Manager. For long time I have been in two minds. Whether I should move to project management or not. I always felt that management is not my piece of cake and I am more a techie than a manager.
Some of the questions I wanted to find answers were:
1. Project Management is all about people and technology is all about code, design and so on. Will I have to leave all the technical matters and manage only people, resources?
2. Overall impression is managers do not understand technology. Will I ever become like them? If it happens it is like seeing death of my own self. Will I be comfortable in this new borrowed skin?
3. Any management job is more generic and has longer usability. Specially in India, where all the technical profiles are dominated by young generation, will these people be willing to work with me when I turn 50? Or will they be more comfortable if I am their project manager?
4. In this world everything revolves around money and there is more money in management than technology. If I have to get a technical job at the age of 50 will it pay me the same money when there is a young engineer willing to take up the work at may be 50% of the cost?
5. Does gray hair really matter in technology? Can a younger person be a full replacement for an experienced developer/designer/architect?
6. Will project management be as interesting as development? What keeps the managers going? Where does the job satisfaction in management come from?

As I move on this track I will be exploring to get answers to these questions. If you have any please post comments on this blog.

2 thoughts on “TechPM – Technology or Management that is the question”

  1. Hemant, I too am in a similar situation like yours. I too considered myself to belong to the “field”, rather than seeing myself sit at one place and “keep a watch” over my team. I would like to share with you my experiences (9 years so far) – probably trying to answer your queries.
    You are partially right when you say Project Management is all about managing people. I put it as – it is all about “technically” managing the people.
    Managers who have started as techies are bound to show more results, but they are prone to getting involved in the technical matters. I believe there needs to be a “finite” balance when you consider doing a balancing act between technical matters and managing resources. As MS Dhoni once said, there is a thin line between bravery and foolishness. A techie would be the BEST manager if he/she is able to do this balancing act.
    There is no finite answer when it comes to making a futuristic decision about “going back” to your roots (technical expertise). At this stage, we do not know what the future will be and also what values the “next” generation will hold. Time will be a crucial factor that will be the ultimate decision maker.
    There is more money in management, but also, there have been instances where techies have been offerred equivalent salaries as that of management graduates. Again, this is totally dependant on a lot of factors when you speak about getting a technical job at 50. In that case, as a Project Manager, you will need to keep yourself updated regarding the day-to-day changes in the technological aspects.
    I feel gray hair doesnt matter, its the gray matter which matters. A 50 year old can give a 25 year old a run for his money if you ask me.
    Project Management is really interesting – especially since we have come up by actually “DOING WORK” in our respective areas. The team looks upto us, wants us to share our experiences, maybe at one point, even start to consider us as mentors. It totally depends on how we keep ourselves “up-to-date” about all the happennings going around the globe!!!
    By the way, you have a very interesting blog indeed.
    Happy Blogging – Prasanna

  2. The point raised by hemant is very true, to be a techie or be a project manager. This is the same problem that we all face and the big question comes when to shift from techi to project manager. What is the perfect time to shift? Who wil decide that we should move to management, is it we ourself or our senior manager?
    No doubt there is more responsibility and risk in management.

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