product managers vs. project managers

Seriously, What’s the Difference Between Product Manager and Project Manager

If you’re wondering about the difference between the responsibilities of proDUCT manager vs proJECT manager, you’re not the first, nor are you the 200th person to be confounded by that. The source of the confusion stems from some overlap in responsibilities, but mostly from the fact that both roles span a wide scope of serious managerial responsibilities.

Let’s break it down a bit

Product Manager’s role

Being the visionary behind the process, the product manager always needs to have the endgame in mind – bringing her vision of the product to life, adjusting the vision to fit market/audience needs and mobilizing the entire team toward that goal. The product manager always needs to be focused on:

  • Ideation and story mapping
  • Roadmapping
  • Feature prioritization
  • Shaping the product – UX, design, design specs, functionality, bugs and iterations
  • Feedback – collecting, managing and acting on it
  • Communicating with customers, competitors & market research

Project Manager’s role

Product managers are more oriented to getting the mission done. To that end, project managers need to be detail-oriented, as well as masters of some seriously effective workflow management methodologies. Project managers are the clockwork that makes the product tick. Without them – the team doesn’t stand a chance of meeting product goals. Project managers are minded of:

  • Task and schedule management – turning the product roadmap into a feasible reality
  • Setting up and managing a seamless workflow for the team
  • Resource and scope management – controlling task crawls, raising the alarm whenever the project scope gets out of hand
  • Budget
  • Problem solving

Responsibilities

Product Manager Project Manager
Vision Execution and Delivery
Strategy Tactics
Goals Objectives
Roadmapping Schedule management
Product/Market fit Creative problem solving
Managing stakeholders Managing resources
Team building and motivation Effective task management
Feedback, testing and customers Streamlining team-work

Plan your product

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