Product Managers versus Project Managers

The title Product Manager can differ from company to company, and often overlaps with other roles. In this mini-series, Product Manager vs. Other Roles, we will discuss how the role of a Product Manager compares to different roles.

This time we will talk about Product Managers in comparison with Project Managers.

These titles may sound extremely similar, but they entail different responsibilities and skills. However they are intertwined in that they make each other’s work simpler.

The word product and project is what sets the difference between the two titles. Product is what is being offered to the customers and it is also what is being developed by the Product Manager. Project is the plan that is laid down to complete said product from start to finish. However, a project is done when it completes what it was made to accomplish. A product can have multiple projects throughout its entire development and it will continue to be improved upon after a product’s release.

A Product Manager is the product owner and is responsible for the vision and strategy of the product. They have to stay on top of developments and make sure the product is covering all bases. Since they have a lot on their plate so this is where a Project Manager comes in.

We have a blog post explaining what Product Management is in more detail.

The Project Manager does what their title suggests. They manage the project which the Product Manager is in charge of. They make sure that the execution of the tasks needed to complete the product are carried out and that each team gets the resources that they need.

Together they are two gears turning together to produce a product that fits the Product Manager’s vision. Of course in smaller companies where there is no room for a Project Manager, the Product Manager can take on that role as well. Bigger companies have more room for hires so it is easier for them to have both a Product and Project Manager.

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