Product Management vs Project Management

Product manager and project manager can be a confusing choice for technologists who have worked for 2–3 years and want to upgrade to the Mid-Senior level. In terms of position, both of them have the same abbreviation, either Project Manager or Product Manager has the “PM” abbreviation. Indeed, both have similarities, but behind the similarities, it turns out that both have fundamental differences.

It’s common that people will confuse by the two, but basically, the difference between the two is very visible.

Key Function

Here are some differences in Product Manager and Project Manager key functions

The Ultimate Guide to Product Management vs Project Management by Product Plan —

First, Key Functions are very different. Product Management aims to direct business goals, customer needs & feedback, and build the best solutions to meet those goals. Product Management includes the research process, determining product vision which is the target of future products, suitable strategies for product development, and directing product roadmaps to match the targets and objectives agreed at the beginning.

Product management is more concerned with the direction of the product, objectives, goals, and outcomes obtained by the product.

Meanwhile, project management has a goal to complete the project that has been started. From the stage of division of tasks, making timelines, sharing resources, monitoring tasks, and communicating actively with stakeholders, they are in project management. Project management does not care about how the definition and goals of the project, project management takes care of how to manage the schedule, resources, and facilities needed to complete a project.

Project management has an important role in making the plans that have been prepared to be carried out perfectly.

In the software development field, when software is initiated and analyzed, product management plays an important role in this process. When a software development project has started, project management plays a role in bringing the development that has been started to completion.

Strategy vs Execution

Photo by Rubén Bagüés on Unsplash —

If delivered in simple language, product management manages the strategy of the product, and project management manages the execution process of the product in a project.

Product Management analyzes and produces high-level requirements to be presented to the related BOD or VP. Define the product vision, roadmap, and strategies that must be carried out in the development of a product. Product management separates priorities and rough estimates regarding the product to be developed. And most importantly, product management always communicates existing strategies with company leaders, team members, development teams, and other teams related to product development.

Meanwhile, Project management analyzes and examines specific requirements. analyze project scope, manage specific priorities, manage resources so that projects can be completed on time, define and divide teams, and perform scheduling analysis. project management uses tactical tools so that projects can be managed properly down to the detail. Often, a project manager also determines the price or cost for the project.


Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash —

Determining the success of product management is complicated, product management is not tied to a person’s individual role and is very dependent on the individuals and teams involved in it. Usually, product management measures the success of defined product metrics, product metrics are usage-based or revenue-based such as churn rate, growth rate, adoption, the screen on time, etc. For specific calculations, calculations can be made by measuring the percentage of targets achieved, how many products have been launched, and how many features have been improved or launched.

Project management is responsible to carry the project into completion with an effective and efficient resources.

For project management, the calculation of success depends on the Project Manager's concern because every step of project management is determined by the project manager. Then, by what measure is the success of project management? The answer is to measure the level of success of a project compared to the delivery time and resources spent. If the project has the right delivery time, with the resources issued as planned, it can be ascertained that the project management is successful. Then if it does not reach the time and resources of a project manager said to fail? Of course not, because there are additional factors that are included in the calculation, namely Customer Satisfaction, including communication, escalation strategies, resource optimization, and budget control.

Thank you for reading this article 😊

Bryant Alim, 29 Sept 2021

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