I am currently project managing a software build, managing 2 developers, a QA engineer and UI/UX designers in the process. I am no longer hands on. Previously I was a former developer, but I did not enjoy it so switched to management as an agile project manager and find it much more interesting.

I would like to make a career out of this, but I do not want to ever go back to hands on development, is it possible that I can?

  • 1
    If you do not want to go back to development, what is it you are asking then?
    – WaltHouser
    May 5, 2016 at 17:28
  • 2
    Maybe this question would give you a good hint... How technical should a Project Manager be?
    – Tiago Cardoso
    May 5, 2016 at 20:33
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    The canonical answer to this question is "Yes". Because that's what I did and I have built my career on project managing technical (mostly software development) projects, without doing any actual development myself. Though I caveat that with the fact I do not do Agile, but the principle is sound I believe.
    – Marv Mills
    May 6, 2016 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


As you can see from the comment by @TiagoCardoso, there is no consensus answer. This is remarkable given that a forum like StackExchange will self-select toward the technically inclined participant. So the the general theme of "It's handy to be technical but not necessary" indicates that having a state-of-the-art grasp of the project technology is not essential.

As per the Project Management Body of Knowledge, the PM spends 90% of his/her time communicating. See Leading technical teams as an agile non technical project manager. You will need to reach out frequently to internal and external stakeholders. The former are team members and supporting personnel and anyone appearing as a task or activity owner on your WBS. External stakeholders are customers, top management, trade associations, other divisions in your firm, or anyone you can influence your project positively or negatively. More on stakeholder management at Working with a "single point of contact" How to transition from programmer to project manager? for more suggestions on making the transition.

So there is no time for you to actually do "real work." As PM, you remove obstacles and encourage progress. That's why non-technical PMs can thrive and gain team member respect and support. The team will appreciate your ability in keeping the budget and resources flowing and keeping sight-seeing managers out of their hair. The team's lead developers should do the technical troubleshooting, with the occasional consultant brought to address the more intractable problems.

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