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The product manager establishes the concept for the product to be developed, collects specifications, and prioritizes them, Whereas the project manager implements this concept and ensures that it is completed on time and within budget. Certainly, complementary functions, but unique simultaneously.

What is the difference between the product manager and project manager?

Let’s start with the definitions of the terms product and project to figure out their differences.

A product can range from a tangible item to software or a service that meets the demands of a specific group of people. It goes through a life cycle in which it is manufactured and brought to the market, grows in acceptance until it matures, and withdrawn, when it is no longer required.

A project is a one-time undertaking that aims to provide a product or service. It has a beginning and ending date and a specific outcome. It typically has five stages: commencement, planning, implementation, supervision and control, and closure.

Let’s carry on and examine how their disparities manifest themselves in their duties and obligations.

Product Manager

The function of a product manager is strategic, similar to that of a CEO, but for the product.

They are the ones who determine and own the overall product direction, sticking to it until the product is taken off the market. It is their role to comprehend user requirements, transform them into a design or MVP (Minimum Viable Product), and manage a development team to build the product and meet those requirements.

This includes routine duties such as:

  • To gather requirements, users must be interviewed.
  • Problems and possibilities must be identified.
  • Choosing which ones are worth pursuing.
  • Developing a framework and identifying features.
  • Organizing and prioritizing development tickets.

Above everything else, it is about product awareness. That is having the vision to know when to shift a product from alpha to beta testing, when to delay a release due to a defective aspect, or when to delete a product or portion of it because it no longer makes financial value.

Product managers are also in charge of a product’s profit and loss function. That is why they work closely with the sales, marketing, customer success, and support teams to ensure that the entire business goals of profit, competitive advantage and customer pleasure are met.

Project Manager

A project manager’s position, on the other hand, is more technical, with an emphasis on implementation.

They must take the product roadmap from the product manager, create a project timetable around it, and plan the work for the development team to meet critical milestones and deadlines. In other words, their task is to effectively complete a project within the agreed-upon price, schedule, and quality, one project at a time.

This goal is divided into three events:

  • Risk and problem management entails identifying and mitigating any risks that could cause the project to be delayed.
  • The planning phase entails creating tasks with a start and finish date, allocating them to the appropriate personnel, establishing initial time constraints, and generating the project timetable using specialized project management processes and tools. The resource scheduling component, on the other hand, is concerned with the daily management of daily responsibilities, supplies, infrastructure, reports, and personnel to ensure that the project team has everything they require.
  • Scope management is possibly the most difficult task of all. It necessitates managing the time-budget-quality triple to favorably change the project scope and bring it under the initial desired objectives. For instance, if you shorten the project timeline, you will need additional resources, which would increase the budget. Alternatively, you may need to change the scope to match the agreed-upon criteria.

Conclusion

Putting aside the uncertainty and overlapping expertise, product managers and project managers make a formidable team. Their differences complement each other and ensure an organization’s ultimate success. If you manage them properly, they will take the business to the next level.