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Product vs Project Management - What is the Difference?

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Product vs Project Management - What is the Difference?

In the case of project vs product management, understanding the differences between positions can help recruiters find the right talent for a company. Understanding the difference, also gives candidates the chance to utilise their skills and qualifications for a job that suits their needs.

What is Project Management?

Project management is a goal-focused position where managers lead teams from the debriefing right through to a deliverable whilst also adhering to constraints like time and budget. Project managers are the brain behind individual operations, responsible for keeping their employees focused on the task at hand.

Recommended Skills for Project Managers

Project managers are people-focused and require excellent communication skills. They need to be digital-savvy and use all the resources, tools, and techniques available to them to guarantee success. Excellent time management is a must, and organization and adaptability are close seconds. Above all, they must be excellent leaders - allowing their team to thrive under their command without restricting creativity or inducing anger and resentment.

What is Product Management?

Product management is exactly what it sounds like, but common perceptions would have you believe that managers only intervene after a new product is ready for the market. 

This is not the case.

Product managers help innovate and design products, test prototypes, run client research and identify gaps in the market. They’re a developer, analyst, and marketer all rolled into one.

Recommended Skills for Product Managers

Creativity is vital for product managers, and finding new ways to help their product succeed requires a lot of detailed research and understanding of the market. They have to be passionate and calm under stress. The wide scope of their job role means that problem-solving is an essential skill for any product manager.

The Differences Between Product and Project Management

One of the main differences between product and project management is the view they take: 

  • Product managers have to look at the market, prospective customers, competitors, and the world around them.

  • Project managers look internally to achieve their goals. 

Project managers experience a wider variety in their daily business lives, because a project is “unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal” (Source: Accenture). A product can be clearly defined as either a physical entity or a service, and the process for developing and launching a product might be a repetitive process for a business that serves smaller niches or works within just one industry.

For example, the design and development of a mobile application will always have the same structure and involve working with software developers and engineers to get the product ready for the end-user. A project, however, has a much wider scope in its definition and could be implementing a marketing strategy or reworking the entirety of corporate culture.

Finally, although project managers may undertake a variety of different projects across departments - they often get to utilize just one of their qualifications at any one time. For example, using their customer service training to improve overall company reviews. For product managers, however, individuals will need to be multi-talented employees who can use their research skills at the same time as their sales ability. 

Recruiting Product Managers and Project Managers

The nuances of job descriptions can help you attract the right talent that will likely stay with your company for years to come. Getting the details correct the first time will mitigate the risk of employee turnover, ensuring you choose a candidate with the appropriate skills to match your needs - Forward Role can help.

The Change Forum Presents: Project VS Product Management

We have a couple of tickets left for our free event, hosted by Change Leader and Owner of Just Enough Change, Paul Clavering and Forward Role Technology Recruitment Director Alistair Collier

Join us at Forward Role HQ on Thurs 24th March, for drinks and to chat about Project Vs Product Management in more depth, get your tickets HERE

Working with Forward Role

For help expanding your horizons and driving change in your industry through intelligent recruitment, contact us! At Forward Role, you’ll find genuine Marketing, Digital, and Tech experts who care passionately about delivering for their clients and candidates.

If you're a candidate, we'll treat you the way we'd like to be treated when making an important life decision like moving jobs. If you're a client you can expect exceptional delivery and communication as a matter of course.