Why should every product manager learn to code?



Mohamed Salah – Istanbul – March 2018

Products are built by teams that consist of a number of members coming from different background and perspectives. Most teams have developers, designers, and possibly other roles in addition to PM. Product managers need to empathize with team members in order to understand the challenges they are facing and help them overcome these challenges and be more effective, however, in many cases that do not happen.

One of the most common problems among product teams is that PMs don’t speak the same language as developers, because of their lack of knowledge about software development it becomes hard for both sides to communicate together, on one hand, the developers can’t explain in details the problems they ran up into or the architecture decision they have made and why they made it because the PM simply wouldn’t understand. On the other hand, perhaps the developers are open to communication and share these details, but it can be hard for the PM to ingest all this technical terminologies and concepts unless he has previous knowledge about them or has a general understanding about software development.

Learning coding skills will not only make the PM able to empathise with the developers but rather, help offer solutions and suggestions about the problems that the team is trying to solve, create better time estimates for the tasks by being able to ask the developers the right questions and breaking epics and user stories into tasks of manageable size and focused scope. That will help him understand the cost of each developed feature, and prioritize tasks and feature better because of the additional insights he gains when he understands the problem better.


The PM has a “glue” role. Connecting non-technical people with technical people, and non-product-minded people with product-minded people. They need to wear different hats all the time. They fill a gap. A good product manager will bring a team of different views and personalities together to focus on one goal. They’re able to keep the balance between the product scopes and objectives that they wish to reach and the reality of what can be achieved.

Does the PM only needs to understand what the engineers are doing under the hood or will he ever need to code himself?

The truth is that the PM should utilize all his skills to do a better job and that includes coding skills. These skills can be very useful in accomplishing tasks and solving problems that could save a lot of the development team valuable time and increases the overall team productivity.

Here are some reasons to make the PM start coding:

  • Automating recurring tasks: As product managers, we always have this report or spreadsheet that we need to pull an update on daily or weekly basis, or that tool that we run to sync or connect two systems together, or at least we need to check some usage statistics and metrics every couple of hours to make sure everything is going fine. There are plenty of tools out there that can help you automate all of this, for those who tried many tools to find a perfect ones, they understand what i mean when I say that most of these tools totally miss the point, you need to do a very custom job that the tool can’t support. Learning to write a software that can do these tasks for you can be a real life-saver.
  • Scheduling alerts: You need to know about important things as they happen if a server is down you need to know, but also if you received 1,000 customer requests in a minute you need to be notified about that. I recommend Amazon AWS for doing these kinds of tasks, Amazon provides Lambda function which uses server-less architecture, you can write your scripts in NodeJS, Python or C#, test your script and schedule it to run just like a cron job using Amazon CloudWatch events. You can also create an alert using Amazon SNS and subscriptions in order to send SMS/Email when the job runs or whenever there is an error. I wasn’t familiar with Amazon AWS until I bought an echo dot, and created a Lambda function to write my first Alexa skill. Amazon provides very nice feature templates that I was able to use Alexa skill kit integration with Lambda. The learning curve was not steep, it only takes a few days until you get the basics.
  • Consuming your product APIs to create test scenarios: Most products these days expose APIs to access the product features. Mobile applications by design require these kinds of APIs in order to work. You need to understand how the API’s work and how to access them programmatically. Let’s say the engineering team worked on a new feature for a marketplace that requires interaction between service providers and customers, and you need to build a social graph or a recommendation engine. Creating a simple scenario to test how the feature works for new customers and service providers that just joined your platform. You can spend many hours creating accounts and marketplace transactions manually, or you could write a piece of software that uses the marketplace API to create this test scenario. One could argue that this is the job of a test engineer or SDET. However, most startups don’t have these roles and the PM is the ‘glue’ that needs to fill in the gaps.
  • Supporting the team by building helper tools: It is quite often when a content management team needs support on data acquisition when you are working on a new marketplace, you need to make sure you work on both the supply and demand side of the market. For instance, when went international with Armut.com we needed to acquire data from tens of thousands of service providers in 5 different markets before launching. I created a simple web crawler and a tool that connects to APIs for 3rd party data providers to retrieve the service providers data. These kinds of tools are very effective when you need to grow and scale the business. Writing these kinds of tools yourself rather than relying on the engineering team to do it, will help keep the engineers from being distracted inside jobs and keep them focused on developing the product core, while you as a PM can work directly with the content management team and develop a minimum-viable-tool that they can use.
  • Continuous learning and application of what you learned: If learning is a goal in itself, then trust me if you took a course or two about software development, you still haven’t learned much, your brain will only retain a fraction of the information after you completed the courses. Having said that, working on projects and solving real-life-problems is the only way to prevent your knowledge from getting rusty.

Software development along with complex problem solving is one key skill that adds a lot of value to you whether you are a product manager or not. It has been identified by the World Economic Forum as the most valuable skill to get a job in 2020. Bear in mind that you don’t just learn technology but before that, you learn software architecture, data structure and algorithms, you should build a strong foundation before focusing on technology. Software development is a hard skill to acquire and requires a lot of time and dedication, it empowers and gives you the ability to accomplish things yourself whenever you want them to happen which would have been otherwise impossible to do.

Being a CS grad gave me the opportunity to learn to code and worked as a software engineer for a couple of years before moving to business roles. That wouldn’t have had much value if I stopped learning and applying new technologies and concepts. If you are not a CS grad there are a few places to get started on coding, one possible start is CS50 which comes highly recommended as a good starting point to learn general computer science concepts before you dig deeper.

Here are a few good resources to get started:



Egypt Yellow Pages Launches Mobile Apps For iPhone, Android and Windows 8.1

Egypt Yellow Pages Mobile App

Yellow Pages has launched 3 new apps aiming at making its service easier to use and accessible to a wide range of users in Egypt.

First up, there is a new Yellow Pages iPhone app available on App Store. The app is more than just a re-skin that is iOS 7 compatible, the app user experience is designed to help the users find what they are looking for on the go through a smart single search box where you don’t need to type the location and the app is smart enough to detect your location and show the results near you.

The app is practically a directory and a map with over 330,000 business listings and venues in Egypt that users can carry in their pockets. Taping on one of the home category icons will effectively help the users discover and explore local stores and venues near them. This is good news for businesses that want to acquire more customers from their neighbourhood, or passing by customers that happens to be in this location at that specific time and need to buy a product or a quick access to a service.

Yellow Pages New iPhone App

4 new updates have been released to the app in the past 2 months, each single update of them received a stunningly 5 stars rating from the users. The old English and Arabic apps are now merged into a single universal app in which users can switch between the 2 languages; much better for the user experience.

Yellow Pages iPhone App Review

Android users now finally can download the long-awaited Yellow Pages Android app on Google Play store. The app is accessible to over 3,835 Android devices worldwide. The app is optimised for high end Android devices such as Samsung S4 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 but it also works well with low end Android handsets such as the Galaxy Ace and Duos, also works great with 7 and 10 inch tablets.

Integration is done nicely with Google maps, which makes it very easy for the users to use turn-by-turn voice navigation available in Egypt through Google Maps. The Android app has received very positive feedback from the users, over 680 users rated the app and over 82% of them rated 4 or 5 starts for it. Exceptional for an Android app to satisfy equally for both high and low end device owners.

Yellow Pages Android AppWindows 8 is often criticised for its shallow  apps catalog, Egypt is no exception, but this is changing overtime with more apps being launched and push by Microsoft and its partner Linkdotnet in Egypt. Egypt Yellow Pages Windows 8.1 app is available for download on the Windows Store as one of the leading apps in the the Egyptian market, only a few apps came before like EgyptAir Windows App and Egyptian eGovernment maps app which is also powered by Yellow Pages data.

Yellow Pages Windows 8.1 AppThe new apps have received hundreds of thousands of downloads and continue to grow rapidly. Yellow Media has announced its intent to launch a new context-based relevant in stream mobile ads as an innovative way of mobile advertising that has a positive value on the user experience based on their interests rather than traditional mobile banner advertising.

يلوبيدجز مصر أول شركة فى الشرق الأوسط تجمع بين شريك جوجل أدوردز المعتمد و شريك جوجل المميز للأنشطة التجارية الصغيرة والمتوسطة الحجم

يلوبيدجز مصر و التى تعرف حالياً بأسم يلوميديا حصلت على درجة جديدة من الشراكة مع جوجل لتصبح شريك جوجل AdWords المعتمد بالأضافة إلى كونها أول شريك مميز لجوجل للأنشطة التجارية الصغيرة والمتوسطة الحجم فى الشرق الأوسط.

هذا يعنى أن يلوبيدجز توفر خدمات الأعلان على جوجل بشكل محترف و معتمد من جوجل لتشمل:

إدارة الشؤون اليومية للحملات
إرشادات في مجال التسويق
دعم مخصص للعملاء
إعداد تقارير تفصيلية للأداء

 يلوبيدجز مصر شريك جوجل AdWords المعتمد و شريك Google AdWords المميز للأنشطة التجارية الصغيرة والمتوسطة الحجم

يلوبيدجز مصر شريك جوجل AdWords المعتمد و شريك Google AdWords المميز للأنشطة التجارية الصغيرة والمتوسطة الحجم

  ما الفارق بين شريك جوجل AdWords المعتمد و شريك جوجل المميز للأنشطة التجارية الصغيرة والمتوسطة الحجم؟

شريك جوجل أدوردس المعتمد من الممكن الحصول عليه للشركات التى تستوفى شروطه مثل أن يكون للشركة فريق عمل من الحاصلين على شهادة Google AdWords و التى تمكنهم من أدارة حملات العملاء كما يجب أن يكون للشركة أيضا حد أدنى من المصروفات على حملات العملاء فى الشهور الثلاثة الماضية لا تقى عن 10,000 دولار أمريكي.

Google AdWords Certified Partner

شريك جوجل المميز Premier SMB Partner لا يمكن الحصول عليه ألا من خلال أبرام أتفاقبة خاصة مع جوجل، هذه الأتفاقية لها شروط خاصة لا تتوافر إلا للشركات الكبيرة التى أثبتت تواجدها فى السوق لسنوات عديدة و تتميز بوجود قاعدة عملاء تتجواز الألاف و كذلك وجود عدد كبير من خبراء المبيعات و الأستشاريين الأعلاميين الذين يستطيعون صناعة الفارق للعملاء و حصولهم على أفضل عائد على الأستثمار و يتم ذلك بكل شفافية و تحت أشراف كامل لشركة جوجل فى الشرق الأوسط و شمال أفريقيا و مقرها أيرلاندا.

Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner

الجدير بالذكر أن كل نوع من هذه الشراكات منفردة فأن تصبح شريك معتمد لا تؤهلك لشريك مميز و العكس صحيح.

كيف تتأكد من أن الشركة التى تتعامل معها هي بالفعل شريك معنمد أو شريك مميز لجوجل؟

يمكنك التأكد من خلال الرابط التالى:

أبحث عن شريك معتمد أو شريك مميز لجوجل أدوردز Google AdWords فى مصر

بالطبع يجب عليك التأكد أذا كانت الشركة شريك معتمد فقط أو شريك مميز أو كلاهما من خلال رؤية اللوجو الخاص بالشراكة.

لماذا أتعامل مع شركاء جوجل فى حين أنه يمكننى عمل حساب على أدوردز و شراء الأعلانات مباشرة من على الأنترنت؟

هو نفس السبب الذى تلجأ لشركة حينما تريد عمل موقع على الأنترنت، فبأمكانك عمله بنفسك أو اللجؤء لشركة تطوير مواقع، أو هو نفس السبب الذى تلجأ لشركة تصمميمات حينما تري تصميم لوجو خاص بشركتك. هناك مثال يقال “أعطى العيش لخبازه” فأنت تحتاج لخبراء يستطيعون أنشاء حسابك و متابعته و أدارته و عمل كل ما هو لازم له لتحصل على العائد من الأستثمار. وقد أثبتت الأحصائيات أن من يتعاملون مع شركاء جوجل تكون أستفادتهم من الأعلان أقوى بكثير مما يقومون بعمل الأعلان بأنفسهم حيث يعتبرون أن أعلان جوجل ليس بأعلان عادى و لكن هو قناة توزيع و مبيعات جديدة لا يمكن الأستغناء عنها بعد تجربتها و الأستفادة منها

Egypt Yellow Pages Celebrates 20 Years in Egypt

We have celebrated 20 proud years of success in Egypt serving both the Egyptian local businesses and the community together. I am very proud of being a part of this. Although i joined Yellow Media back in 2008, i’ve been involved with them back to 2004 when i developed the first fully functional website for the company 8 years ago.

Thanks to Yellow Media family.

Marc Lambert - Egypt Yellow Media Managing Director cutting the cake

Marc Lambert – Egypt Yellow Media Managing Director cutting the cake


Egypt Yellow Pages: 20 Proud Years in Egypt

Egypt Yellow Pages: 20 Proud Years in Egypt


Hany Foud - IT Department receiving his award from Raphael Emil

Hany Foud – IT Department receiving his award from Raphael Emil


Ahmed EL Gohary - Internet Department receiving his award from Waguih William

Ahmed EL Gohary – Internet Department receiving his award from Waguih William


Mohamed Omar - Software Development Department receives his award from Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Omar – Software Development Department receives his award from Mohamed Salah


Wael - Sales Department receives his award from Lars Mourey

Wael – Sales Department receives his award from Lars Mourey


Egypt Yellow Pages Team Celebrates 20 Proud Years in Egypt

Egypt Yellow Pages Team Celebrates 20 Proud Years in Egypt



Google Officially Launches Google AdWords Premier SMB Parntner Program Page in Egypt

Google have officially launched Google AdWords Premier SMB Parntner Program Page in Egypt. It is the first Arabic page that is launched under that section as Egypt Yellow Pages is officially the first partner in Egypt and the Arab world (After Morocco whcih launched their site in French).

Google explains 5 reasons why you should go to Premier SMB Partner than DIY (Do it yourself) approach.

If you have a business in Egypt and you want to advertise it on Google, you should consult Egypt Yellow Pages to help you plan and execute your online marketing new channel.

free AdWords consultation in Egypt

Yellow Media and Google Enter Strategic Partnership to Support SMBs in Egypt

Yellow Media – Formerly known as Egypt Yellow Pages and Google Ireland have signed strategic partnership agreement that will make Yellow Media the first Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner in Egypt and the second one in North Africa.

The Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner Program enables strategic relationships between Google and companies that can deliver the power of Google AdWords to their local merchants. Small and medium-sized businesses working with a Premier SMB Partner receive professional, full-service AdWords account management, from account setup and activation to ongoing campaign monitoring and optimization.

The official announcement was made on April 22, 2012 in the Four Seasons Nile Plaza hotel with tens of attendees of technology reporters and journalists from major news papers and online news and technology portals in Egypt.

The event was held by: Marc Lambert – Managing Director of Yellow Media, Ahmed Hafez – Head of Sales in Google Egypt and North Africa, Lars Mourey – Director of Sales & Marketing in Yellow Media, and Mohamed Salah – Director of Digital Media in Yellow Media.

Marc Lambert, Ahmed Hafez and Mohamed Salah

Marc Lambert, Ahmed Hafez and Mohamed Salah

Keynote of Ahmed Hafez - Head of Sales - Google Egypt and North Africa

Keynote of Ahmed Hafez - Head of Sales - Google Egypt and North Africa

Following the official launch event, a 2 day intensive training course was given to 200+ Yellow Media sales professionals by the Google Egypt team. Wael Fakharany – Regional Manager Egypt, and North Africa – Google gave a very insightful keynote speech about the success story of how he managed to transform Google Egypt from a country office that only had one individual (Wael Himself) to tens of millions of dollars in a few years.

Wael Fakharany - Regional Manager Egypt, and North Africa - Google: Keynote Speech to Yellow Media Sales Force

Wael Fakharany - Regional Manager Egypt, and North Africa - Google: Keynote Speech to Yellow Media Sales Force

Yellow Media 200+ Media Solutions sales consultants attending Google AdWords training

Yellow Media 200+ Media Solutions sales consultants attending Google AdWords training

To get a free consultation now, or to sign up for Google AdWords fully managed service by Yellow Media.

Egypt Yellow Pages Launches Yellow Media Brand in Egypt

We proudly announce that Egypt Yellow Pages is launching Yellow Media brand today and expanding from being a traditional directory services provider to empowering our customers with a proper representation of their business on social, local, and mobile platforms, arming them to not just compete in the online world, but succeed. Solutions for everything their businesses will require for online success in the years to come, which is encompassed in an effective SoLoMo, or social-local-mobile, presence.

The various range of Yellow Media SoLoMo offerings in Egypt include:

  1. Social exposure over Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and Dalili.com.eg (Egypt’s largest businesses and venues review site)
  2. Local needs through Yellow.com.eg and Offeratak.com (Egypt’s leading daily deal aggregator)
  3. Mobile platforms coverage though Yellow.com.eg mobile web, iPhone application and Blackberry application (Android and Nokia under development)

Egypt Yellow Pages Zeitgeist 2011

Year 2011 is about to end, many Egyptians are happy about the fact that this year is actually coming to an end and full of hope that the coming year will be better for everyone. Let’s take a look together about 2011 and see what Egyptians were looking for on online Egypt Yellow Pages during this year:

Arabic Search on the rise

Arabic continues to grow to reach 59% of the total searches done in 2011, not as fast as you might expect it to happen, that’s only a 4% increase over 2010. See 2010 Zeitgeist>>

Arabic is dominating the search phrases on Egypt Yellow Pages with 59%

Arabic is dominating the search phrases with 59%

One interesting fact is that many people were looking for Tahrir Square after the #Jan25 revolution! Although sounds to me like a Google search rather than a Yellow Pages search, you never know!

Searches for Tahrir Square on Egypt Yellow Pages after #Jan25 revolution

Top Categories For 2011

The following are the most searched keywords for 2011

1. Restaurant
2. Pharmacy
3. Hotel
4. Advertising
5. Bank
6. Nursery
7. Furniture
8. School
9. Hospital
10. Real Estate

You can see that advertising is going up the list while real estate is at the bottom of the top 10 list. This shows how advertising is so important to businesses in Egypt at these tough days. Real estate industry is not living its best days though.

Top Search Keywords on EYP for 2011

Most popular sectors and industries in Egypt in 2011


1. National Bank Of Egypt
4. CIB

Top Egyptian banks for 2011

Restaurants and Cafes:

1. Spectra
2. burger king
3. KFC
4. cilantro
5. Cook door
6. hardees
7. pizza hut
8. la poire
9. Mo’men
10. Roastery
11. gad

Top restaurants in Egypt for 2011


1. Vodafone
2. Mobinil
3. Etisalat

Most searched mobile network operators in Egypt for 2011

Brands and stores:

1. Samsung
2. Xerox
3. Sony
4. Appliance
5. Raya
6. Toshiba
7. Egypt Air
8. Mobile Shop
9. Panasonic
10. Jotun
11. Habitat
12. Nokia

Top searched brands in Egypt for 2011


Goodbye 2011, enough is enough… Hopefully 2012 will be a glorious year and won’t see the end of the world according to Mayan calendar time prophecy

Egypt Yellow Pages App Released on BlackBerry App World

One month after the launch of BlackBerry App World in Egypt, Egypt Yellow Pages have released the BB App on the App World. This is one of the first BlackBerry applications (perhaps the first one) that are submitted from Egypt. This application launch was a developed by a brilliant new Egyptian startup called Apptitude.

What makes our BlackBerry application unique is not only being one of the first Egyptian publishers to join the App World, it has also been developed based on the community demand on different social networking sites especially Twitter… Our twitter friends joined out application beta testing program and provided us with very useful feedback and many additional features to add. Also their ongoing support helps us to add more features and make the application better….

A big thank you to our list of honor beta testers:

Mostafa khaled Beige

Mahmoud Ahmed

Mahmoud Abdel Aziz

Ramy Temraz

Bassem Osoris

Gamal Omar

Abdou Omar

Islam Badr

Mohammad Mokhtar Eltrissi

You can download Egypt Yellow Pages BB App from App World here.

BlackBerry App World now in Egypt

BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry App World

After waiting for it for a really long time, it has been confirmed today that BlackBerry App World is now available in Egypt. Although no official published news by RIM confirms this. Many users from Egypt have reported that they were able to access AppWorld and download application from it.

Many people wonder why did it take all this time to launch the store in Egypt. RIM has responded to this question saying that they do not launch the App World in a country unless they have signed an agreement with all the mobile operators to avail it for the users. Perhaps that could be the reason of the delay.

Egypt Yellow Pages BlackBerry App

Egypt Yellow Pages BlackBerry Application

The launch of BB App World in Egypt must be good news for users, developers and application vendors. Distribution of BlackBerry apps is not a simple task specially with all the device and OS specific features available, which makes it harder for the application vendors to do the correct device and OS detection and avail the correct version of the application to the correct device and the appropriate OS version.

As a Yellow Pages publisher, we are very delighted about availing the Black Berry App World in Egypt which will enable us to distribute and deliver efficiently our free local search application for Egypt. Currently, you can download Egypt Yellow Pages BlackBerry application from here. It is available for Curve, Bold and Torch models. There are 2 versions of the application, one supports OS 4.6 and another one supports version 5.0 or higher which has more features and functionalities embedded.