A product manager is responsible for overseeing a product that needs to be built, including gathering requirements and prioritizing them. A project manager is responsible for making sure the product is built and that it is executed on time and on budget.
The two jobs overlap somewhat in terms of certain skills such as leadership and time management. But as far as specific functions, product and project managers cruise different roads.
Both the product management and project management areas are crucial to organizations. Product managers bring the many departments of a company together to focus on the whole point of the company’s existence: the product. Therefore a product manager needs to be focused and have excellent communication skills because of intense collaborations with the sales, marketing, customer success and support teams.
Project managers focus more on the execution side of a product. They develop project timelines and make sure development teams hit important deadlines and goals. These responsibilities include:
- Planning and resource scheduling – Adding up tasks with a start and end date and assigning employees to them.
- Risk and issue management – Minimizing potential risks that could jeopardize a project.
- Resource scheduling – Daily management of tasks.
- Scope management – Favorably modifying the project scope and bringing it in line with the initial set outcome.
Product and project managers each perform unique functions. When aligned properly, they both can shine. The product manager collaborates daily with cross-functional teams, such as engineering, sales and marketing, and customer support, regarding the future of the product. And since the product manager is responsible for the product throughout its lifecycle, they will naturally be involved with any project that concerns the product.
So, it is the product manager’s job to define the scope of each specific project. They explain why these projects will achieve high-level goals for their product and business.
The project manager also works with the broader team but is focused on bringing plans to life. And their work is more time-fixed. They manage one effort and once that project is complete, they move on to organizing other tasks.
For example, a project team might be assembled to tackle a UX redesign with a target date that is six months away. The project manager will be concerned with that project’s budget, resources, deadline and quality. They will understand the many details of each project.
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PRODUCT AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING
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