Technology changes the way we are working at a fast speed. Once the production was dependent on the natural rhythms of seasons, now it is completely different, and not dependent on seasons at all. Management processes have evolved for the requirements derived from technology and modern work production.

This happened mostly because of the companies’ desire to be efficient and productive so that they can make profit as much as they can. During the industrial revolution and afterward, organizational disciplines including project management have enabled the sectors to mass production with the help of technology. But product management is a thing of a more contemporary period.

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Product Management Today

Product management is built upon the productive approaches of project management, but generally, it is used and it refers to digital products of our digital era. Project management was about long-term duration, but today’s products, in other words, online applications are different on a daily basis.

Product management vs. project management are often used interchangeably. So people get confused about their duties and what their responsibilities are. A clear definition of each one can help to differentiate to have better product efficiency, therefore in return company profits increase. Understanding the definitions of each might encourage project managers to switch to product management too.

Core Definitions for Product Management vs. Project Management

What is Project Management?

To create a specific product, service, or result, an initiated temporary effort is called a project. Project management is the application of a set of knowledge, skills, techniques, and tools for the projects to achieve the requirements of the project. A project manager is a person who is appointed to perform this application to achieve the requirements of the project. So the project manager is the accountable person for the outcome.

What is Product Management?

All types of goods, services, and knowledge that are sold is a product. Products are not necessarily tangible things including physical goods. They can also be intangible like service benefits. Product management is ensuring a product or service to meet the needs of the customer while having profits, and adjusting the marketing elements, product and its features, strategies concerning the communications, price, and distribution. A product manager is a person who is appointed to have all the responsibilities related to a particular project.

Differences and Common Responsibilities

Product Management vs. Project Management Differences

  • Project management is based on project-dependent metrics, project managers are advocates to build a vision, they are tied to a specific discipline. If you want to learn more about the project management metrics, you can have a look at our blog post Product Management Metrics and KPIs for Mobile App. Project managers should build a vision and they should become advocates for it.
  • Product management is based on product and company goals, they should be advocates for potential users, they should be open to new disciplines. While project managers are advocates to build a vision, product managers are advocates for potential users. Also, product managers should be able to understand new disciplines and integrate them, whereas project managers are mostly specific to a dedicated discipline.

Common Responsibilities:

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  • When we set aside these differences, both management types have very much in common. First of all, both of them concern evidence-related tasks. In other words, planning, decision-making, designs, and executions of these designs are all planned stages with careful considerations. There is not a fixed single style to this in both product management and project manager, but one thing is common; data. Because both of them need solid foundations with proven data.
  • For businesses, money is an important factor in decision-making processes. And in this sense, both product management and project management distribute money and time effectively.
  • Last but not least, the most important thing in common between product management vs project management is their application to various functions and sectors. They both carry out various tasks at a diverse range of companies.

The Transition from Project Management to Product Management

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What about project managers who aspire to change into product managers? What should they do if both disciplines are similar in some ways and different in others?

  1. Improving your tech skills: This does not mean that you need to be a master in coding or programming. But you should have a basic understanding and awareness of the tech area, cutting-edge improvements, and possibilities in the fields.
  2. Your niche in the area: Changing from project management to product management, you do not need to worry about that. Since already you are in your respective niche in a certain sector and function. But some project managers are working from a general perspective. In this sense, you need to find your niche, since product managers tend to have a niche sector to focus on.

Other Skills that are not as Tangible

  1. Gaining market acumen: Successful product manager has a sense of good business. They ask lots of questions and also they should be intuitive towards new trends in software use. Project managers are generally less concerned with these, so you need to improve market acumen.
  2. Communication Skills: This totally depends on your role as project management. If your role was more client-oriented, then you already have this set of skills. But you might need to improve public speaking, public relations, and advocacy skills to be a pro communicator.
  3. Gaining Psychological Understanding of Users: This is quite important because product management is about meeting the needs of the customers. Project managers who want to switch to product management should learn to understand how the ideal user thinks, comments, and talks about the product or service. Because project managers are more concerned about internal-stakeholder understanding.
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Final Notes

Even though there are overlapping responsibilities, product management vs project management are fundamentally different from each other. Product management KPIs, Project management KPIs, their advocacy for different things, and the openness of new disciplines make them different fundamentally.

In this way, product managers conduct products, and project managers take care of them. it is important for businesses to have clear roles for each of them. and if you are looking to switch from project management to product management, there are skills you need to improve in the transition. Of course, keep in mind mind that a changelog software is highly important for a product manager to update internal and external stakeholders!

You can read our previous post on https://announcekit.app/blog/user-activation-implement-it-in-the-user-journey/

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