Guide to Product Management vs Project Management

Product Management vs Project Management are Same or Different?

Product management and project management are not the same set of tasks. But both play significant roles throughout the whole product development lifecycle.

 

It’s an undeniable fact that both are pretty confusing terms, both roles have similar titles, both lean on collaborative efforts, sometimes both have similar responsibilities as well, and much more. However, you are not supposed to misunderstand these two members of the corporate family.

 

This post will help you to differentiate product managers and project managers, their roles, responsibilities, skills, etc. So let’s get going.

First, let’s understand, What is Project and Product ?

Any product could be a physical and visible good, software, or service deleted to address customers’ requirements. A product is more persistent compared to a project. A product has to go through the main four stages throughout its lifecycle.

 

  1. Introduction to market
  2. Growth/Progress
  3. Maturity into the desired structure
  4. Retires from the market

 

Any project is a set of different tasks to generate a perfect product. Project development is a temporary task that needs to be concluded within a specific time frame. Project managers are well aware of what needs to be delivered and when. A project lifecycle consists of five main stages.

 

  1. Conception & Initiation
  2. Definition & Planning
  3. Execution/Launching
  4. Performance & Control
  5. Closure

 

Project Product
A set of multiple activities Physical & visible goods, software, services
Include various steps Provide outcome
Well-defined end-result Always improving
Short-term project team Long-term product team
Specified time frame Permanent until abandoned

Product Manager vs Project Manager

Product managers are basically the CEOs who set the product vision to be built, gather requirements, and set priorities. They drive product development and set the overall product strategy. They transform user ideas into product features and lead the development team to build an MVP ( Minimum Viable Product). They collaborate with every team including design, development, marketing, sales, support, and any stakeholder responsible to address user demands.

 

Project managers play a strategic role and concentrate on project execution. They split extensive tactical plans into actionable tasks. They monitor and track a project/ multiple projects from beginning to end. They deliver exactly what the company needs. A project manager executes the vision and strategies set by the product team or leaders of the company. They set time frames, allocate resources, and create an action plan to get the ball rolling within a decided timeline and budget constraints.

Project manager vs product manager Job Roles

Project Manager Product Manager
Tactical role Strategic role
Also called risk managers Also called product CEO
Execution and efficiency-focused Customer focused
Responsible for providing report progress and quality to stakeholders Responsible for collaborating with stakeholders for strategies and visions
Manage time, budget, and quality Manage product development

 

Responsibilities Product manager vs Project manager

Project Manager Product Manager
Budget and resources allocation Define product strategies and vision
Estimate time and cost Lead market research
Schedule project relevant tasks and define project scope Drive ideas for new and future product development
Monitor progress and prospects Generate product roadmaps
Provide desired business results within a strict time frame Acknowledge user demands and suggest product features
Track and control product quality Brainstorm product strategies
Calculate ROI and disclose it to stakeholders Sustain effective collaboration with stakeholders
Decide on basic and upcoming obstructions Decide on product releases

Formal Job Titles

Product Manager

Companies are nowadays determining product management as a significant business job. Hence, four different fields have emerged in recent years.

 

  1. Technical product manager
  2. Data/Analytics product manager
  3. Product marketing manager
  4. Product growth manager

 

These job titles are also divided into different categories based on seniority level.

  1. Associate product manager
  2. Junior product manager
  3. Senior product manager
  4. Group product manager
  5. Chief product manager
  6. Product lead
  7. VP, product management
  8. Director of product management

Project Manager

Job titles for project managers can differ based on business nature, the marketplace, and other factors. Project manager jobs are most common in the IT/software, engineering, construction, design, and insurance industry.

 

Entry-level Supporting role Executive-level
Project coordinator Project admin Project leader
Project scheduler Project support officer Program manager
Assistant Project manager Project planner Project director
Project manager Project controller Chief project officer
Senior project manager Document controller Project portfolio manager
Project portfolio office executive
Project management office executive

Skill Set

Both project and product manager roles need perfect leadership skills. Thorough know-how of workplace progress and the chain of command is essential for both roles. Both should have the determination to make intelligent decisions with the ultimate goal and long-term vision in mind. Also, both require superior organizational and research skills.

 

These are similar skills of product and project managers. Let’s understand the differences in both skill sets.

Project Manager

  • Project managers need to monitor significant business processes and assess them within a project ecosystem. They should also know project initiation, project planning, budget allocation, resource mobilization, reports & documentation progress, on-time project delivery.
  • Project managers need to be professional schedulers. They must know how to make a calendar that demonstrates what needs to be performed and when, and whom to communicate. Time and task management are skills you can not ignore.
  • Project managers have the knowledge to discover potential risks and how to manage them. They should have pre-planned strategies to mitigate upcoming risks.
  • They are able to assure executives and stakeholders that they can submit the projects within a budget and manage overall costs sensibly.
  • When it comes to defining project scopes, quality maintenance, and monitoring stakeholders, project managers have control management skills. It helps to properly control goals, limitations, KPIs, etc.

Product Manager

  • Communicating with customers, clients, and stakeholders, making successful presentations, simplifying product meetings, leading a team, etc., are the key skills of a product manager.
  • They should understand customer requirements in and out to convert them into an advanced feature. They should also know how to create pricing frameworks, present innovative product campaigns, and address ever-changing market demands.
  • Product managers need to generate a product roadmap by determining market competitiveness thoroughly. They know how to divide the target market, predict product life cycles, place a product in the market, and build innovative strategies to update a product/launch a new one.
  • Product managers should establish their intuition on actual, authentic data. They have to analyze the market, get feedback from customers, and assess them to produce significant numbers. So analytical skills are a must-to-have for product managers.

Tools utilized by Product Manager vs Project Manager

There are various tech tools to make product vs project manager’s everyday tasks easygoing.

  1. nTask – Project management tool
  2. Slack – Communication
  3. Asana – Task management
  4. Loom – Video messaging
  5. Sketch – Product designing

 

Salary Expectation

salary expextation

Source: https://bit.ly/2XVik5s

 

The amount of salary differs based on the region, years of experience, and the organization’s financial ability.

However, a product manager’s average payroll is around $110k annually. On the other hand, a project manager’s average salary is $70k annually.

Summing Up

Possibly, this detail helps you to clear your doubt among the product manager and project manager. If any of the roles falls apart, it would be impossible to deliver an end-product within the time frame, under budget, and with each aspect required for the market to adopt it.

 

On the whole, all product managers lead projects and most project managers look out for products. There are few variations, but they are worth enough.

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