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Topics: Agile, IT Project Management, Strategy
How important is learning code for project managers in the IT industry?
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If you do recommend learning a code to improve your project management abilities, which code is most used and for which applications?

Thank you!
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There might be some PM jobs that require you to know a coding language, but it shouldn't be the norm. I think it's good to know what language the developers are using, but if I was expected to know the language, I'd be suspicious that the company was going to expect me to use the language. At what point to you stop being a PM and become a programmer?

Going beyond coding, I think the PM should develop an understanding of the environment he or she is working in. If your developers start talking about AEM, BitBucket, Crucible, Hockey App, Jenkins, ...and you don't know what these tools are for, you won't be able to understand how close the code is to being ready for production. While I trust my developers, there seems to be more trust when they know that I know what they are talking about.
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Should not be important. Your role is to steward progress and hold you and the teams accountable to defined milestones. Your job is not to develop software.
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1 reply by Edward Daniels
Jul 18, 2017 12:52 PM
Edward Daniels
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I appreciate your answer, i once had an interview where i was supposed to review the code written by developers as a PM. I asked why code review would be an integral part of my assignment when i am still supposed to get all the PM-related work done.

Managing people, process and technology is my mandate and i shouldn't have to learn to code or build databases or web development to manage the team. Some employers are seeking that and it is the old school mentality that if you rise through the ranks, being the most tech-savvy person on the team would make you the most senior and so next in line to managing teams.

Until PMI publishes what is truly required of a PMP/PgMP to lead industry leaders, PMs alike would be expected to be more technical-oriented vice management than is truly needed.
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If the extreme I will say: it is not important. A project manager is not a technical people. BUT, if you are working in software field, take a look to Personal Software Process (http://resources.sei.cmu.edu/library/asset...?assetid=5283). Is something I have applied in other fiels than software to help people to apply project management in a natural way. I was trained inside the SEI CMU.
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1 reply by Keith Emery
Jul 20, 2017 11:40 AM
Keith Emery
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Thank you for your insight.

You may want to edit your link. The closing parenthesis and period were included in the URL.
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I agree with Aaron, Mikel and Sergio. While learning code is good skill to have, it's not a project management skill. Having said a solid understanding of the context of the project and the question to ask to challenge the team is of utmost importance to ensure good quality and successful outcomes.
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If you want to actually improve your project management abilities using code, you can learn Visual Basic so you can customize Microsoft Project to do truly amazing things.
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If a construction company listed a project manager position and said "must have own tools," we'd probably question if they knew what a project manager was. IT companies do this all the time, though. Sometimes, an open "project manager" position is really a senior developer or system architect.

There's nothing wrong with learning a language, of course, just know that IT domain knowledge becomes obsolete very quickly if you don't keep up. (I can write some very nice, vintage 2005 Java scripts for you, if you'd like.) It's more important to understand the processes and tools that your organization uses and the team members you work with. If learning how to write code helps you do this, it's worthwhile. If you ask what languages they use most often, you can probably find some free online resources to get you started.
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Mike,

If you are working in the IT Industry, please be aware that the industry is more and more moving away from coding and automation is kicking in. If you would like to increase your domain knowledge, then learn more about Cloud, Big Data, Analytics etc. The future of software is moving towards more configuration and less coding. Earlier developers used to automate certain business functions using coding, but now days most of the coding itself has been automated/eliminated with configuration.
But there are still some areas like C++(Communication/Networking) Java(In certain kind of website development, portal development) which has not yet been automated.
I would leave the decision to you make

If someone has a small project to be managed, where the complexities of true project mgmt doesnt kick-in, then ideally a Software/Solution Architect can manage that project. If you are looking forward for such roles, then you can learn the appropriate coding
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Pretty consistent responses. Will help out but should not be a primary focus. May help you communicate better with some team members but don't lose track of the big picture
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There should not be any need for actual coding. With that, it can add value when the PM has some background with software development so to have the ability to follow technical conversations, understand, in general terms, the logic, and be able to see the big picture. But this is by no means a requirement. A PM does not need to be a SME. Whether coding in .NET, Java, C, SQL Server, Oracle, Postgres, whatever, logic is logic.

My wife was a PM a long time ago, and she knew absolutely nothing about coding/technology, and she did great as a PM. There were others on her team to be the tech experts.
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Jul 15, 2017 4:52 PM
Replying to Mikel Steadman
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Should not be important. Your role is to steward progress and hold you and the teams accountable to defined milestones. Your job is not to develop software.
I appreciate your answer, i once had an interview where i was supposed to review the code written by developers as a PM. I asked why code review would be an integral part of my assignment when i am still supposed to get all the PM-related work done.

Managing people, process and technology is my mandate and i shouldn't have to learn to code or build databases or web development to manage the team. Some employers are seeking that and it is the old school mentality that if you rise through the ranks, being the most tech-savvy person on the team would make you the most senior and so next in line to managing teams.

Until PMI publishes what is truly required of a PMP/PgMP to lead industry leaders, PMs alike would be expected to be more technical-oriented vice management than is truly needed.
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1 reply by Wade Harshman
Jul 18, 2017 2:19 PM
Wade Harshman
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You're "old school mentality" describes, in part, the Peter Principle. We promote someone to management because he's a senior developer. That developer-turned-manager might make a fantastic manager, of course, but we shouldn't confuse seniority with management potential.

I'm also reminded of a quote by Archibald Putt:
"Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand."
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