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Why every project manager should learn how to code

Why every project manager should learn how to code

16 Oct 2019 Miha Fabjan

If you are working in a team of programmers you should speak “their language”. Here are the 5 reasons why every project manager should learn how to code. Or at least understand the coding basics.

1. Avoid assigning the wrong people for the job

Every project starts with setting up a team of people and assigning roles. It's important to understand who you need to get the job done.

Project managers without understanding what programmers do make many wrong decisions in this process due to the lack of understanding of how the web/mobile app is built.

Take, for example, a construction site. Let’s say digging a hole in the ground requires two truckers and one digger. If you understand your industry, you can avoid making mistakes. Don’t be the guy who hires three truckers or three diggers. :)

2. Predict project deadlines better

Deadlines are the most important milestones for every project manager. But it can be quite painful working with programmers if you don’t really understand how long things can take.

Setting up unrealistic deadlines brings bad energy to your team and even your clients. By understanding how to code and the process of software development you will know how to set realistic deadlines. Things will get done faster and the energy in your team will be much better.

3. Shorter meetings with developers

Project managers usually keep up to date on everything happening with the project by organizing weekly meetings and daily standups. But you need to understand that every meeting takes precious time away from software development.

Don’t get me wrong. Meetings are important. But it is even more important that these meetings are productive and you don’t waste time. A project manager who doesn’t “speak IT” will take way more time trying to understand the topics and issues discussed during a meeting.

Don’t be the project manager that needs an explanation on every little thing.

4. Choosing the right tech stack

Trends in the IT world are changing fast. A project manager, who is usually the link between the developers and a client, must understand what is best for the client. Even if the client doesn’t know it yet.

You should always listen to your IT team on a decision like this. Choosing the wrong tech stack (such as a coding language and a framework) can be a costly thing.

A project manager who understands IT is much better at making such fundamental decisions and can properly explain them to clients when needed.

5. Make minor modifications yourself

Imagine this: Your project is finished. The deadline has been met. Your IT team feels great about the job they’ve done and your client is amazed by the finished product. Everything is great.

A month later the client emails you about a minor change on the website. You think: “Damn!” Your team already moved on to the next project and they are super busy right now.

What do you do? Imagine having the skill to do this minor change yourself. Quickly resolving the issue with the client and keeping them happy. Also, a line of your own code is now part of the project. What a feeling! :)

At SmartNinja we think every project manager, who works with programmers, should learn at least some basics of programming. To achieve that, we have a great many great courses to choose from. Check out our courses here and apply today! ;)

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