What’s The Difference Between a Project Manager And a Product Manager?

2017-12-02T12:57:07+00:00

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Project Manager vs Product Manager

Project Manager and Product Manager are two different positions which often create confusion. However, they may overlap and a Project Management can also be a Product Management. But in most cases, the two frequently collaborate in order to create the best outcome possible. And working closely together is an inseparable part of their work.

What’s The Difference?

However, there are certain differences that make these two positions distinct.  So let’s begin with a clear overview on both of them:

Project Manager Product Manager

Project managers are change agents: they make project goals their own and use their skills and expertise to inspire a sense of shared purpose within the project team. They enjoy the organized adrenaline of new challenges and the responsibility of driving business results.

Source: https://www.pmi.org/about/learn-about-pmi/who-are-project-managers

Product managers are typically found at companies that are building products or technology for customer or internal use.  The product manager is often considered the CEO of their product and is responsible for the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition for that product or product line.

Source: https://www.aha.io/roadmapping/guide/product-management

 

Hence, the main distinction between a Project Manager and a Product Manager is that they have a different scope of responsibilities.

The Key Responsibilities

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Both positions may seem similar but it’s important to know the difference between their responsibilities. They are much different than it may seem and often regard disparate functions in the company. And here are the key responsibilities that make the difference:

Project Manager:
  • deals with a project – a plan with a series of particular activities that has a defined outcome and a fixed start and end date;
  • is not that much concerned with the product goals but with the project itself;
  • focuses on external needs: takes care of budget, team’s organization, solving problems, deadlines, etc.
  • responsible for internal completion and delivery of one project at a time – once the project is finished, he moves to other tasks;
  •  prioritizes the tasks and makes sure the team follows the instructions.
Product Manager:
  • deals with a product – it is what customers are provided with; 
  • can be a product owner, CEO;
  • is responsible for setting the product strategy;
  • once the project is finished and a product is delivered to customers, a Product Manager still works on it and makes sure it meets customers’ expectations;
  • focuses on internal needs: understanding customers’ needs, researching market, makes sure there are no bugs, decides where to go with the product, what changes introduce, etc.

To Sum Up

The differences in a Project and Product Manager’s work appear to be insignificant but are crucial. Without drawing a boundary it may be easy to get lost in the duties. And what can follow are the wrong work outcomes and, in the result, wrong product delivery. This can bring losses to the company. But with the collaboration of a Project Manager and a Product Manager, the company may grow and become successful in its mission. 

 


Related Sources:
https://blog.aha.io/the-product-manager-vs-project-manager/
https://brainmates.com.au/brainrants/project-manager-vs-product-manager/
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-de-haaff/the-product-manager-vs-pr_b_8040402.html

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