A technology project manager does not need extreme competence in the underlying role.
Don’t click off! Stay with me now.
Let’s think about this.
Say you have an amazing developer who excels in every way. Because of this, should she be automatically assumed to be best for a management/HR role? Does she want to leave the coding behind? And on top of it all, one of the firms best coders is no longer primarily writing code.
In fact, many companies mistakenly do this to one extent of the other.
I mean, how many rock star salesmen have been promoted to manage other salesmen?
The best manager of a group of developers might be someone with no engineering background at all?
One of the hardest, most frustrating conversations I consistently have with team members is the one about what managers do versus what individual contributors (ICs) do. Many ICs believe that management is just telling people what to do and making sure they do it. They assume (falsely, in my experience) that only managers who’ve previously done the work themselves can be effective. They make an inherent assumption, often based on real, personal experiences (which are impossibly hard to argue against), that the best managers are the people who used to be the best ICs, thus proving their worthiness as leaders. A mediocre engineer will make for a poor engineering manager. A great customer service manager could never be an effective engineering manager. These myths are so easy to believe and so tied up in standard business protocols that unraveling them is like pulling teeth every time.
-Rand Fishkin, Lost And Founder