22 October 2008

Technical vs. non-technical PM redux

I am always fascinated by the ongoing debate of which is better, the technical or non-technical Business Analyst or Project Manager. That's why I just had to let you all know about this article by Tom L. Barnett, PMP over on gantthead.com. It's an excellent addition to the discussion that I think really captures why it is such a difficult topic to resolve.

You can find examples of success on both sides of the argument as well as examples of failure. Mr. Barnett takes a closer look at two examples and in my opinion makes a compelling case for his conclusion. It's about the people, not the process or the domain.

What do you think?


  1. I wanted to mirror my comments over here too. Thanks for directing us to this article Craig!

    Great post Tom! I wanted to add that a project manager who is able to build a great relationship with the people who have domain knowledge can be very successful. If you openly ask for a mentoring relationship from people who know the industry, it can be a powerful way to gain trust from your team and stakeholders because (1) you openly acknowledge them as a source of expertise and (2) many of the reasons for defensive behavior go away.

    This reminds me of a point in Hal Macomber's Two Great Wastes. One of the reasons "not listening" becomes a problem is when there is concentrated knowledge and power, usually in a manager or project manager. When I see a manager or project manager who tries to be (or is) the subject matter expert on the team, there are usually trust issues there. The flip side is what I describe above.

    Josh Nankivel

  2. Thanks Josh

    Janet was the one who posted the article, although it is a conept we are all interested in.

    Why is this such a difficult question?

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