Product Management vs Project Management – What’s the Difference?

Part of my job entails meeting the next generation of web professionals. They often ask me about the work I do. One question that pops up a lot is ‘what is product management vs project management and what exactly is the difference between the two?’. A lot of times these two roles are confused to be the same. I believe this is typical. In a lot of companies, product managers assume the role of a project manager as well. But these two are quite different roles. I’m going to take some time out to try and explain the differences between the two roles.

Product Management vs Project Management Roles

Let us first begin by discussing the role of a product manager, which is basically to be responsible for a product . The successes or the failure of the product is the success or failure of the product manager. This is essentially defined by either metrics or KPIs that the product manager has to hit in order to be deemed successful. Whereas the project manager is not really responsible for the product but is responsible for the execution of the projects that the product manager has defined. In order to execute this successfully, the project manager plans the execution and defines a budget within which he needs to work on. Of course, there is a lot of chaos that happens since project managers have known to have very lofty timelines

Essentially, a product manager is someone who owns the problem statements, does user research,  defines what features need to be made, builds a product roadmap and once the product or feature is implemented, does the analytics on top of it to understand what’s working and what’s not working. Whereas a project manager is in charge of the execution of these product features and they’re also responsible for the quality of the implementation.

Product Management vs Project Management Skillset

Let’s talk about some of the skill differences between a product manager and a project manager. A product manager is typically someone who is very comfortable with chaos. He can ask the right questions to the right stakeholders to figure out the best solutions for the product. This person is obviously very problem-solving and oriented. Whereas a project manager is someone who’s more methodical and is basically a great planner and very very execution-focused.  By now you should have a good understanding that differentiates Product Management vs Project Management. Based on what skills you have you can decide whether you want to get into product management or project management. But be rest assured that both of these fields are extremely lucrative. Product managers should be able to master their skills and be able to use Lead Generation Tools. Project managers should be highly skilled at Jira Confluence.

Key Functions of a Product and Project Manager

Product Manager

  • Research
  • Set Product Vision
  • Communicate Vision to Stakeholders
  • Develop Strategic Plan
  • Create and Maintain Product Roadmap

Project Manager

  • Break down initiatives into tasks
  • Planning project timelines
  • Allocating project resources
  • Monitoring task completion
  • Communicate progress to stakeholders

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