You’ll see it again and again (and again). What’s up with the computer science requirement for PMs? Coding isn’t a regular part of a PM’s regular job, so why don’t companies loosen up that requirement to find someone who’s truly excellent at the core product management skills?
Here’s the simple answer: Many people without a background in computer science can’t form a strong working relationship with engineers.
All of those excellent product management skills will go to waste if the PM alienates his engineers and can’t earn their respect. Product Management is a job where you have to lead without authority. The only way to get great work done is to bring the team onboard with your vision.
It’s possible to be a great PM without a technical background, but you’ll need to find a way to build a strong relationship with your engineering team and work past the hazards that non technical people so often hit.
What makes a PM the top 1% of PMs?
I’m not sure I’ve ever met a 1% PM, certainly not one that I identified as such prior to hiring. Instead of trying to hire one, you’re better off trying to hire a 10% PM who strives to develop and improve along these dimensions.