Product Manager vs Project Manager: All You Need to Know

What Is a Product Manager?

A product manager is responsible for recognizing customer needs and the broader business goals a product or feature will address. They define the criteria for success, envision the desired outcomes for a product, and lead a team to transform that vision into a tangible reality. 

Responsibilities of Product Manager

To gain insights into some of the major responsibilities of a product manager, read the points mentioned below:

  • Communicates and establishes the strategy, product vision, and roadmap.
  • Collects, prioritizes, and organizes market and customer requirements.
  • Serves as the advocate for customers, effectively articulating their needs.
  • Collaborates closely with marketing, engineering, sales, and support teams to ensure alignment with business goals and customer satisfaction targets.
  • Possesses technical product knowledge or specialized domain expertise.
  • Conducts pilot and beta programs during the qualification phase, assessing samples or nearly finalized products. In Agile environments, regularly reviews completed work and solicits customer feedback to ensure alignment with their expectations.
  • Demonstrates expertise in the market, including competitive landscape analysis, an in-depth understanding of customer purchasing behaviors and customer perception of the product.
  • Assumes a leadership role for the product within the company.
  • Formulates business cases for new products, potential business ventures and enhancements to existing products.
  • Develops product positioning strategies
  • Provides recommendations or contributes data for acknowledging industry-specific considerations, setting product pricing and competitive pricing awareness.

What is a Project Manager?

A project manager, within the realm of project management, is tasked with overseeing the planning and implementation of a project. Their role extends across various industries and involves managing endeavors with well-defined scopes and specified start and end dates, ensuring successful execution from initiation to completion.

Responsibilities of Project Manager

Project manager responsibilities encompass the daily activities integral to fulfilling the role effectively within an organization. These tasks are essential for managing projects across different stages and contexts.

1. Team Coordination:

Facilitate coordination among team members, ensuring a cohesive approach.

Align manpower and resources, conveying task specifics to individual team members.

2. Fostering Team Unity:

Establish a harmonious working environment by defining primary roles aligned with clear goals.

Cultivate trust and collaboration within the team through regular feedback, task clarity, effective communication, and provision of adequate resources.

3. Effective Delegation:

Master the art of delegating tasks while maintaining a leadership style that avoids blame or degradation.

Understand team members' strengths and weaknesses to assign tasks suitably, ensuring their ability to prioritize effectively.

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4. Employee Feedback:

Gathering and reviewing employee feedback remains pivotal throughout the project's lifecycle.

Acknowledge evolving roles and provide regular updates to team members to align with company objectives.

5. Comprehensive Planning:

Develop strategies aiming for optimal outcomes with minimal resources and time.

Employ methodologies like Agile or Waterfall, ensuring team comfort within the chosen framework.

Break down projects into manageable tasks, maintain steady progress, establish schedules for deliverables, define milestones, and highlight project dependencies to streamline execution.

Key Differences Between Product and Project Manager

Some key differences between product and project manager are:


  • Product managers plan the project, while project managers execute the plan.
  • Product managers focus on product development through stakeholder communication and research, while project managers oversee project execution by implementing processes, schedules, timelines, and budgets.

Job Duties:

  • Daily responsibilities differ significantly between product managers and project managers due to their distinct roles in production.


  • Product managers lead the product team, while project managers lead the project team.
  • Project managers may collaborate with the product team to ensure alignment with objectives, promoting cross-team collaboration facilitated by product managers.


  • Product managers work directly with clients to understand desires and needs, conducting market research to impact sales strategies.
  • Project managers liaise with clients as needed and plan workflows based on the product manager's research, aiming for alignment with client objectives.


  • Product management software facilitates strategy and design documentation, aiding in product roadmap creation for product managers.
  • Project management software tracks project timelines, schedules, and progress, often including features for creating development plans used by project managers to oversee the team's product creation.

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Common Similarities Between Product Manager and Project Manager

Product managers and project managers share commonalities in their work with teams and individuals, striving to achieve organizational objectives. Both roles aim to attain predefined goals set by the organization. Product and project managers notably rely on similar soft skills essential for success in their respective positions. These four fundamental soft skills—listening, communication, organization, and product evangelism—are pivotal for project and product managers.

How do Product and Project Managers Work Together?

Despite the difference between a project manager's and a product manager's roles, they collaborate to synchronize the product vision with the execution strategy. Product managers convey the strategic significance of the product and customer-focused insights to project managers. Subsequently, project managers devise plans, allocate resources, and execute projects in alignment with the product's objectives.

Which Is Better: Product Manager vs Project Manager?

Product management revolves around creating and launching successful products, demanding a blend of technical and business expertise coupled with strategic thinking and customer understanding. On the other hand, project management centers on guiding and accomplishing successful projects, necessitating skills in planning, execution, monitoring, and control. Product and project managers hold crucial positions within an organization, necessitating diverse skill sets for success. Assessing one's skills, interests, and career aspirations and learning the difference between product manager and project manager is crucial before choosing between these career paths.

To become a Certified Product and Project Manager, you can refer to PMP Certification and Post Graduate Program in Project Management or Product Management Certification by Simplilearn.


1. Is the Product Manager Higher Than the Project Manager?

In several organizations, the product manager is acknowledged to be higher in position than the project manager. In some cases, especially in organizations that prioritize product development, the product manager may be seen as having a more strategic role and may have a higher-level position than a project manager who manages specific projects related to that product. However, it's important to note that the hierarchy can vary, and both roles are critical for successfully developing and delivering products and projects within an organization. Ultimately, the organizational structure and the specific roles and responsibilities may differ from one company to another.

2. Can You Be a Product and Project Manager?

Yes, a project manager can also become a product manager. While managing both product and project management responsibilities is possible, assessing the feasibility and practicality of doing so within your organization's context is essential. As the organization grows, it may become necessary to have dedicated professionals in each role to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in both product development and project execution.

3. Do Product Managers Become Ceos?

Product managers can become CEOs by practicing and leveraging skills such as data-driven decision-making, a customer-centric mindset, cross-functional collaboration, risk management and communication skills.

4. What Is the Average Wage Difference Between Project Managers and Product Managers?

A product manager's average salary is $88,626 per annum, and the average salary of a project manager is $75,892 per year. However, the salary difference between product and project manager might vary based on your company, location, experience or education.

5. What Effects Have Agile Approaches Had on These Roles?

The agile approach lets a product manager continuously adapt and make changes to the product strategy. On the other hand, agile acts as an iterative approach to project managers and assists them in managing a project through constant development, team input, and uninterrupted collaboration with stakeholders.

6. Can a Project Manager Transition to a Product Manager Role?

By gaining a keen understanding and knowledge of the product manager role, you can transition from a project manager to a product manager role.

7. Are Product Managers Highly Paid?

A product manager is amongst the highest-paid roles in the corporate world. However, your salary depends on your experience and your organization. The salary of a product manager can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the location, industry, level of experience, the specific company, and the complexity of the products they manage. However, in many cases, product managers are considered well-compensated professionals.

About the Author


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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