October 25, 2017

Dev skills: How to address your engineers and become one of them

Every new product manager’s fear is about not having enough dev skills. Software development requires a minimum knowledge of the dev world. Yet, for someone coming from a business background and breaking into product management, it may be the scariest shift in their careers. What they fail to realize, however, is the fact that you don't really need to be a coding genius or a deep knowledge of software engineering to be a good PM. All you need is the basics, and the courage to dive right into it!So here are our top dev skills PMs need to have in order to be able to communicate to their engineers.

Speak the language

Learn the vocabulary. Know how to address them and this will help them develop more respect for you. It shows that you’re taking the time to understand their world and gradually finding your way in.

Learn about databases

Know what they are, why you’re using them, which ones you’re using and why. You’ll often hear “we’re off to buy a new database”. You don’t need to know all the databases. You just need to have a general idea about them and to dive deeper into the ones your team is using.

Learn basic coding

You don’t need to know how to write code. You won’t be writing code. You shouldn’t be writing code (as a the product manager). As simple as that. Know the difference between the languages. Learn the concepts (algorithms, cyber security, software, etc.) Knowing the basics will help you develop a greater appreciation and empathy for your engineering. Introduction to computer science from EdX

Version control

It is absolutely critical to being able to develop software, have continuous deployment, and make sure your code is secure. Proper code maintenance and coordination among engineers is very important to software development. That’s why version control is a core practice for continuous integration.

Try git from Code School

Nobody is born as the exemplary PM. It's a learning process. First, you develop your analytical skills, then you learn the basic dev skills, and finally, you boost both of them with effective collaboration!