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Product vs Project Management

21
Nov
2022
Product vs Project Management

Often, people need clarification on the roles of Product and Project Management. Besides, these job titles are mostly narrowed down to single tasks. Nothing farther from the truth! While they work together, they focus on many yet different functions. So, in this article, we'll define each's role and assignments. Likewise, we'll analyze the impact of each on business thriving. Join us!

What is Product Management?

Product Management conducts the steps of product development. This oversight includes development, positioning, and value set. These workers focus on what final users will do with and about a launched product. Thus, they need to be in constant touch with market trends. 

Self-described Product Veteran, Martin Eriksson, offers a concise and accurate description. In his words, Product Management is a mix of businesses, technology, and user experience. The business edge focuses on goals and deadlines. It's the one in charge of harmonizing the different teams of the venture and the client. Further, the UX aspect is relevant as it's vital to represent the client's vision. And lastly, tech handles the day-to-day to achieve those outstanding results. 

Due to the prior, it's pretty simple to determine why Product Management is essential. In essence, it's what gives unity and meaning to a product. Also, it defines its commercialization and sustainability. With this role, teams have it easier to create successful products. Hence, Product Managers identify challenges and organize solutions.

What does a Product Manager do?

A Product Manager is in charge of identifying customer needs. Its tasks include channeling commercial goals. Plus, Product Managers ideate the product's development process. They handle the needed team to translate ideas into action. In sum, Product Managers set goals, motivate teams, and manage the outcomes. Among the key responsibilities of a Product Manager are the following:

1. Product Vision and Roadmap. A vital task is collecting and interpreting users' opinions. Thus, they can develop a vision and later a roadmap with the steps to follow. This task includes an analysis of the product to find out its matches with different users. It requires joint work with cross-functional teams.

2. Customer Needs Analysis. Acknowledging market needs is critical for the success of any product. Here, the Product Manager studies both types of users and potential competitors. As a result, they can trace the path to a successful outcome. 

3. Team Goals' Optimization. Many workers and teams take part in Product Development. Thus, Product Managers ensure the alignment of development, design, sales, and marketing teams. They're responsible for creating strong communication guidelines and providing an optimal overview. Due to this, Managers must submit complete reports and documentation. 

What is a Product Management Strategy?

There are some key aspects to consider before elaborating on a Product Strategy. One of them is the Lifecycle of a Product. In general terms, this process encloses four main steps. 

1. Introduction. At this point, the idea turns into an actual product. Also, it's the beginning of its marketing strategies.
2. Growth. If products achieve success, their demand will increase. Thus, it's crucial to stay prepared to guarantee scalability.
3. Maturity. This stage focuses on the product's profitability. In turn, there will be an increase in competitors. So, the product's position in the market may vary.
4. Decline. If there are no backup or scalability plans, the product will collapse. Some reasons for this phase are high competition or lack of demand. The Product Manager must ensure the product's relevance in its market.

That being said, a Product Management Strategy must acknowledge several edges.

The first one of these aspects is the Vision. Here, the team breaks down the problem to provide accurate and detailed solutions. Yet, this area also has its own subset of focuses. To start, the company's strengths and weaknesses are vital. Other items enclose market space, buyer personas, and competitors. The product's vision is often concise and aspirational. For example, Google used this procedure for its early vision of its search engine. Its vision was to "organize the world's information and make it accessible and useful."

Later on, the focus is on the Goals. At this stage, it's essential to classify and quantify goals to get a good follow-up. Quantifying goals helps to establish coherent horizons. Is your product an app? A purpose could be increasing downloads by 25% in the next quarter. This procedure implies having chronological order and deadlines. These plans are vital to acknowledge the product roadmap’s highlights. In this context, SMART goals are an essential resource. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-Related.

Last but not least, there are the Initiatives. After defining goals, initiatives help to embody your product with meaning. Initiatives are complex goals breakable into actions. This stage can enclose customer satisfaction or new services in your catalog. Thus, they lie more on the quantitative side. After specifying goals with structure and meaning, teams can start working.

What is Project Management?

For the PMI, Project Management uses knowledge and skills to create something valuable. Here, a trained manager guides a group to achieve business goals during this process. Yet, this process encloses different activities. It includes planning, documentation, and communications. Further, Project Managers can get involved in technical edges like development and design. It's about delivering projects on time while meeting established scope, time, and budget.

We can all agree that Project Management is powerful. But the question is, why? Every project has tasks and edges that need supervision and alignment. Thus, Project Managers define reachable goals and approaches for projects. Plus, they focus on strategic planning and quality control at each step.

What does a Project Manager do?

A Project Manager cares for the well-being of the people involved in the project. Plus, they ease strategic decisions to encompass the project. Good Project Managers must earn the trust and respect of their teams. In turn, teams also must feel supported. It's a two-way road! In this sense, Project Managers carry many tasks, such as Integration of Project Management Methodologies, Scope and Project Development and Planning, and Analysis of times, budgets, and potential risks. It also encloses Communication between team members, and Attention to the client's requests and needs. Further, the role of Project Manager applies beyond Software Development. From construction and factories to engineering and event planning. The position covers a wide array of fields.

What is a Project Management Strategy?

Defined strategies are essential to achieve successful products. In the Project Management plan, it's important to consider certain aspects.

1. Identifying Goals. The first step is to create a solid and workable base. Some factors to consider here are Relevant Data, Team Members' Skills, Specifying Users' Interests, and Channeling Essential Priorities.

2. Narrowing Scope. This phase identifies the overall direction. Here, there are also elements to keep in mind, like available budget, delivery times, and both short and long-term goals 

3. Action Planning. Now, it's time to outline the ideas! This stage should focus on goals, team, client, stakeholders, deliverables, and budget.

An excellent way to organize these strategies is with Gantt charts. These charts ponder the different edges a Project Manager handles. It combines activities with a suitable time scale in different axes. Each task has its bar, and its position and length reflect its duration. Thus, you're allowed to see many aspects at first glance. Beyond the duties and their duration, you'll see potential overlapping and scheduling.

Product Management vs Project Management

Despite the constant comparison, it's not much of a "versus" situation. Instead, these roles can often superpose themselves. Both need to delve into tactical details. Plus, both keep track of stages, steps, and goals. Thus, there's a close relationship between them. They even often share responsibilities in task management. Also, both positions must conquer four leading soft skills to achieve efficiency. Not only do these include listening and communication skills. Also, it encloses organization and team motivation.

Product Management Project Management
Focus on Research Focus on Task Division
Channels the Product’s Vision Set the Project Timeline
Develops Strategic Plans Monitors Tasks' Completion
Creates the Product Roadmap Communicates Progress within Teams
Monitors and Drives Development Certifies the Project Completion

Business Trends for Product and Project Management

1. Data Demand. Data Science uses' are rising. In this context, both roles have greater access to data. This approach can help reach more profound research on users and behaviors.

2. Roadmapping. This approach shifts thinking from "what" to "why." With it, leaders can focus on strategic goals within a larger environment. Further, this approach includes methodology diversity. In turn, it allows them to have a broader vision.

3. Remote Work. For a couple of years, remote activity has intensified. Thus, both positions added remote work methodologies and protocols. Yet, this switch still aligns with planning and goal achievement.

Conclusion

Product and Project Managers have well-defined roles. Further, they complement each other. Yet, it's vital to acknowledge the relevance of each for business success. Both are responsible for mixing their functions and capabilities for a successful product!