I have been getting this question lately from new Product Managers about how much technical knowledge should a PM have. Frankly, I had this same question when I started out as a PM and it has been a recurring question. But why?
Just go read a few PM job descriptions on Product Hired or any other job portal and you will notice that either the asks for technical knowledge are very different or very vague. Companies themselves have no idea of how much technical knowledge does a PM need to be able to manage their tech products. That is why there are tons of blog posts and opinions out there telling you how technical you should be and it just confuses new PMs and PM aspirants more and more.
According to my experience, there is only one word which will tell you how technical you should be. There is just one metric to focus on.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Can you communicate to the developers what problems you want to solve so that they can help you work out what to build?
2. Can you communicate to testers what kind of scenarios need to be tested?
3. Can you communicate bugs effectively when you are testing the product for acceptance?
4. Can you communicate to stakeholders and customers what you are building?
5. Can you communicate to your vendors what you need from them and why?
6. Can you communicate to your sales and marketing teams what they are supposed to promote and sell?
7. Can you understand what all the teams that I mentioned above are asking and telling you about the product?
Most of the above do not even need technical knowledge. The tech know-how already exists within the company. You just need to build on what your technical team already knows and help them help you.
This is my personal opinion based on my own experience. Please let me know your opinions in the comments and recommend this post if you liked it.