A few months ago I was working on a project where one of the elements was a preparation of a public REST API. During that time I was heavily involved in scoping, consultations and preparing proper documentation of what should be done. What’s more, I had to work with the non-technical stakeholders and explain to them how things will work out and why. It quickly turned out that I am missing some kind of a tool to be able to work with the APIs.
After a small research, I found out that Postman would be something I can look into. Knowing that our developers and QA specialists also use it and could help me, if I would have any issues, this tool seemed like the best choice at that moment.
After using it for some time now, I think this is a great tool also for a person like me - a Project Manager. Here’s why I think you might want to learn Postman.
But first, few words on what Postman actually is. Most importantly it is an HTTP client which allows interacting with web services. The functionalities built on top of that allow designing, testing and documenting the APIs.
Support in teamwork and API design
Usually work with the APIs starts with designing a concept. Basically, you could use anything, pen and paper, a document editor or a board with markers. But Postman gives you some neat tools for that and something beyond.
An example list of requests based on available endpoints and methods
You can design the API endpoints, available methods, workflows, available parameters and example responses on mock servers, even before starting any coding. And after the development is done, this will help you expand the API further with ease, since you will already have a base with basic documentation elements.
Another big advantage of using Postman is that you can employ teamwork. Using team workspaces and sharing your work with others allows for faster communication. You can easily create API requests, bundle them in contextual collections, verify your ideas with others even if you are not a developer yourself. Postman also gives you the ability to easily create examples of how certain things will look or work. You can share that with your stakeholder or other team members (especially if they work remotely) to make sure you get things right.
Here’s one of the simplest examples you can create:
This is a simple GET request to retrieve a list of locations.
I’ve used a “mock server”, while I didn’t have any back-end ready. I’ve added an example response body to emulate what kind of information is available for you after you make a successful call.
API Test and Documentation in Postman
There are also some additional options like running the whole collection at once or applying health monitors which run periodically and which you can use to verify if your API still works fine.
Postman Echo generated documentation
API development is inseparably linked with documentation and every Project Manager should be able to properly read and understand it and even better - write it (maybe with some developers’ help). Postman makes it super easy, while it generates documentation for you. It’s up to you to manage the proper descriptions and what elements should be included (such as specific query parameters).
Postman for PM’s skills improvement
There are a lot of other advantages Project Managers may gain by adding Postman to their PM toolset. Firstly, it gives a higher degree of independence, because, for instance, you will be able to quickly check a 3rd party API which you might need in the project. Sometimes it will be a piece of information you want to get from another web service or validating if the integration results are correct.
And of course, learning Postman means raising your skills and that’s a crucial part of working as a Project Manager. Grasping the knowledge of a new concept or mastering a new tool also provides you with greater authority. By showing others that you are capable of using professional tools or you understand how things work “under the hood” you are not only building your image as a professional but also establishing a communication platform with your team or stakeholders.
If in your work you have anything to do with web service APIs, believe me, learning Postman can help you a lot. So don’t hesitate and check it out yourself.
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