Key Difference Between Product Management and Project Management

Product management and project management are the two terms that are often used interchangeably. But they are quite different from each other. 

Let's understand how these two terms differ and which one is best suited for you.

What Is a Product?

A product is something that is provided to users in order to provide its services. It can be described as a physical product that a partnership develops to meet a customer's need, such as Amazon's "for online shopping."

It doesn't have a set end date, which implies that a product requires ongoing research and development. Products are made to provide value to customers by providing solutions to their issues in a convenient way.

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Products may be classified into 6 disparate factions:

Differentiated Products

ex: car, smartphones, shirt, shoes, bottled water, etc

Customized Products

ex: customized fragrances, customized shoes, etc.

Potential Products

ex: luxury chocolates, protein bars, etc

Core Products

ex: laptop, bulb, mobile phones, etc

Actual Products

ex: maps, books, etc

Augmented Products

ex: Apple TV, e-commerce shop, telecom operators, etc.

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What Is a Project?

A project is a procedure that yields the product as its end result. To create a great good or service, a brief endeavor was started.

It may also be described as the process of offering services to customers while concentrating on the final product's size, availability, and caliber. 

Each project has a team to work with, a budget to stay within, a timeline to stick to, and certain expectations to satisfy the client's needs. 

A project may also be thought of as a plan, which entails gathering client needs and developing a solution. 

Projects are short-term attempts to address the organization's needs of the business by meeting user wants. 

Projects may be categorized into 5 categories:

Production Projects

ex: Grape Wine Production

Social Projects

ex: Blood Drive

Educational Projects

ex: Presentations

Community Projects

ex: Food Collection

Research Projects

ex: Social Media

What Is Product Management?

Product management involves overseeing a product's whole lifespan, including its strategy, design, and development as well as its branding.

Product management entails:

  • Formulating product strategies to increase corporate profits
  • Build consumer value and benefit the organization
  • Creating roadmaps to have a clear understanding of the product's design  
  • Generating designs and defining functional requirements
  • Developing the product in accordance with user input
  • Deciding on the product's pricing

The branding and introduction of a company-developed product are also covered here specifications, gathering client input, and deciding on the product's pricing.

Goals of Product Management

Product management employs the SMART approach to improve its goals and manage customer deliverables in order to provide a flawless product.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific - To begin manufacturing in accordance with client demand, product management should focus on a specific idea. 
  • Measurable – The product's needs should be quantified using measurements and statistics in order to achieve the intended outcome.
  • Attainable - The objectives should be feasible given the available resources for the product.
  • Relevant - The product must be appropriate in light of the product management objectives.
  • Time-bound - In order to be provided to the consumer at a specific time, product management must be time-bound.

Now that we have a clear understanding of product management; let's understand what is project management and how is it any different.

What Is Project Management?

The process of planning and allocating a company's resources to a particular assignment is known as project management. Project management plays the same role irrespective of the belonging industry.

The primary purpose of project management is to establish the project's goals and objectives. In order to guarantee the quality of the projects, it also creates a quality assurance check.

It is a method of using talents and procedures to execute a project in accordance with the needs of the client.

Having a dependable project planning and execution approach is also beneficial.

The primary constraints of project management are time, cost, scope, and quality.

The Primary Goals of Project Management are:

  • To optimize distributed essential intakes
  • To complete the project on schedule
  • To oversee the team's performance
  • To oversee effective team coordination and communication
  • To achieve the project's goal and objectives within the allotted time
  • To fulfill the needs of the client to their satisfaction

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Now let us have a look at the lifecycle of product management and project management

Lifecycle of Product Management

Lifecycle of Project Management

Product Framing - Creating a vision, recognizing issues, and defining success for a product

Initiating - Establishing the project's vision serves as the start of the initiating phase

Research - Conduct research and interview people to understand their needs and values.

Planning - Planning the project by developing a road map. Colleagues' roles and duties are also communicated, and the workflow is put together.

Design - Create a prototype by combining a vision, ideas, and research

Executing - The project strategy, responsibilities, communication, and necessary tools are all part of the execution phase.

Plot - Testing solutions with real people in real-time.

Monitoring and  Controlling - The manager keeps an eye on the duties while the team begins carrying out the plan. To ensure that the team gives the client what they want, the manager keeps an eye on the job.

Launch - Send your product into the wild and let it flourish. 

Closing - By interacting with the stakeholders, the project is handed to the clients after it is complete. The resources are assigned to another project once the project has been delivered to the clients.

Measure- Measure product success and make adjustments by using metrics and statistics

Let's examine the distinction between project management and product management now.

Difference between Product Management and Project Management

  1. Concerned Areas - Product management is concerned with the planning, mapping, manufacturing, branding, or marketing of a product for a company. In contrast, Project management is the process of using methods, information, and abilities to execute a specific project. 
  2. Goals - Product management's primary goal is to increase the product's value. Project management, on the other hand, concentrates on breaking down the efforts and dealing with more useful tasks.
  3. Skills - A project manager has to be skilled in planning and budget management, whereas a product manager needs to be skilled at market research, strategic thinking, and business surveys.
  4. Leadership - Project management leads to the administration of an organization's internal operations, whereas product management leads to the management of the external market.
  5. Visions - Product management establishes a trajectory for a product by defining visions and objectives for a product, project management, on the other hand, makes this vision and goal a reality by working on the projects to create the product.
  6. Monitoring - Product management keeps an overall perspective in mind and oversees the product all the way to success. But a project has a deadline, project Management concentrates on completing it on schedule; beyond that, the team no longer manages the project.
  7. Focus - While project management focuses on using methodologies to accomplish a goal or aim, product management focuses on creating new products or improving current ones.

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Let's learn the skills needed to begin a career as a product manager. To be a manager, one must possess all of the necessary qualifications.

Strategic Thinking

Understanding your position in the market, concentrating on your goals, and identifying possibilities can help you plan for the future and build plans.

Leadership Skills

The capacity of a person to inspire and guide a team of others working together to accomplish a common objective.

Time Management 

Time management refers to the capacity to effectively manage time so that the product may be delivered within the allotted time.

Empathy Skills

The capacity to relate to and comprehend the ideas and feelings of another person. Empathy requires placing oneself in the other person's position.

Communication Skills

The ability to communicate with others and give information to them. We can give the information with the help of communication abilities so that the audience may comprehend it clearly.

Analytical Skills

The capacity to see patterns and convey data more succinctly in order to draw conclusions.

Presentation Skills

Presentation skills refer to the capacity to make presentations in engaging, original, and visually appealing ways.

Let's now examine the qualifications needed to become a project manager.

Method Knowledge

Knowledge of project management approaches, such as Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, Prince2, etc., is necessary for a project manager.

Risk Management

Risk management is the skill of identifying and controlling the threats to an organization's assets and revenue.

Knowledge of Management Tools

A basic understanding of project management tools, such as dashboards, reporting, Gantt charts, timesheets, etc., is required of the manager.

Cost Management

The capacity to control project costs so that the company gains the most benefits possible is known as cost management.


One needs to be able to adapt to various situations in order to succeed as a manager.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the capacity for logical thought and an understanding of the connections between concepts. 

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In this article, we have studied the difference between product management and project management. Businesses are becoming more and more competitive, so you need stable and long-term planning and management to direct company strategies and position you for success. For this company model to succeed, project management and product management are essential. Although these two crucial concepts seem similar and are sometimes used interchangeably, there are some significant distinctions between them.

To learn more about product management and project management, you can refer to Professional Certification in Product Management or product management certification and Post Graduate Program in Project Management Simplilearn’s Courses.  

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Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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