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  • Writer's pictureTacit Edge

Why Developers Need Product Management Education and Skills

In our multi-decades-long careers in tech, one comment always comes up: 

“You’re a Product Manager?! You should learn how to code to better work with developers!” 

I’ve literally lost count of how many times I’ve heard this. Meanwhile, we never hear the reverse: 

“You’re a developer!? You should learn Product Management skills!” 

This might sound weird even to read, but when you think about it, it makes complete sense. 

You can create a successful business without coding. But it’s nearly impossible to make one without the ability to define a user problem, test and iterate solutions, choose the most important problems to solve, understand how we might be able to solve the problems in a differentiated way, and measure if we are on our way to success. 

This is not to say that developers are not important, and we shouldn’t learn more about the technology they use. Developers make the world work. What we are saying is developers need a basic understanding of Product Management, just like how Product Managers should have a base understanding of technology. We all need to build empathy for one another, understand each other's constraints and goals to better work together. Developers are the closest to the product. They are the experts. They are best equipped to identify product risks, come up with testing ideas, and discover new problems to solve. 

We believe developers should be empowered to solve problems. 

So, how does Product Management coaching and education help developers? 

Seeing the Big Picture

If you asked a developer why they learned to code, what would they say? 

Often, we hear that they like to solve problems and create things that make the world a better place. 

Then when developers enter the workplace, folks seem to think we need to “shield developers so they can code” and measure success based on how much they are churning out. 

Let’s get developers connected with the WHY behind their work again! 

This is the Big Picture – Who are we serving? Why does this matter? What is the user problem? 

If developers know Product Management, they can be empowered to ask these questions themselves and identify when we need more information to create a product that really works. 

what makes a great product manager

Iterative Problem Solving

Product management advocates for an iterative approach to problem-solving, where hypotheses are tested, feedback is gathered, and solutions are continuously refined based on real-world data. Developers who are familiar with these principles can apply them to their own work, experimenting with different solutions, gathering feedback from users, and adapting their approach based on empirical evidence. This iterative mindset fosters innovation and allows for faster adaptation to changing market conditions

User-Centric Mindset

Product management encourages a user-centric approach to product development, emphasizing empathy for the end user and a deep understanding of their needs and pain points. By incorporating these principles into their workflow, developers can create products that are more intuitive, user-friendly, and aligned with customer expectations. This shift towards a user-centric mindset ultimately leads to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Better Risk Identification

Product development is a team sport. It’s not possible for one person to identify all the risks that could derail us on the path to success. If everyone has an understanding of the 5 product risks: Value, Viability, Usability, Feasibility, and Morality, then we can all be looking out and speaking up when we feel something is off. Developers are amazing at looking out for these risks because they are closest to the product and the technology. Product Management education can help give them the language and confidence to bring these to light. 

Strategic Thinking and Problem-Solving

Product managers are adept at identifying opportunities, analyzing market dynamics, and devising strategies to capitalize on them. By honing their product management skills, developers can contribute not just as implementers, but as strategic thinkers who proactively identify and solve complex problems. This proactive mindset enables them to anticipate challenges, explore innovative solutions, and drive continuous improvement within their projects. 

Career Advancement Opportunities  through Product Management Education

In today's competitive job market, developers who possess a diverse skill set are highly sought after. By adding product management skills to their repertoire, developers open up new avenues for career growth and advancement. Whether it's transitioning into a hybrid role such as a technical product manager or pursuing leadership positions within their organizations, these skills enhance their versatility and marketability in the industry. 

Empowerment to Build Successful Products

Ultimately, the convergence of technical expertise and product management skills empowers developers to not only build products but to build successful products—ones that resonate with users, drive business value, and stay ahead in an ever-evolving market landscape. By understanding the intricacies of product development from ideation to delivery, developers become instrumental in shaping the trajectory of their projects and driving innovation within their organizations. 

In conclusion, the case for developers to develop product management skills is compelling. Beyond writing flawless code, embracing product management equips developers with a multifaceted toolkit that fosters collaboration, strategic thinking, and user-centric innovation. By embracing this holistic approach, developers can transcend their traditional roles, become invaluable assets to their teams, and drive the creation of exceptional products that delight users and drive business success. 


Do you think developers would benefit from Product Management education? Share with us in the comments!  

Unlock your path to product greatness with Tacit Edge! Our tailor-made product management training & certification programs are designed to elevate your skills and propel you toward success.

learn skills to become a great product manager

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