I am sick of this discussion happening in many project management forums, and at the same time I am unable to ignore it because of the plethora of responses to these discussions. Thanks to the message from Dhanya asking for my views on this, which triggered my creative juices flowing again. From my experience, I must say that there is no single right answer to this because the level of technology knowledge required by the project manager depends on the organizational structure of the organization where one is working. In a startup, the project manager need to be highly technical where as in a mega corporation, one need not be very technical to function as a project manager,as there will be another engineering manager attached to the project, who will take care of the technology related aspects of the project. In these organizations, as a project manager you are supposed to be a specialist project manager who is a guru on planning, execution, monitoring and controlling and closing. Intel is a great example. There they have roles like project manager, people manager and technical manager. Quite interesting.
It all depends on the role definition of a project manager by the organization, and will change from organization to organization.
Having technical knowledge is never a burden, and lack of it need not be a handicap as well. Again determined by the role definition.
Spending more energy on this discussion is a waste of time 🙂