LinkedIn principal author Doug Winnie describes the differences between product management and project management. Product management focuses on making something that people want that solves a problem while project management focuses on the feasibility to building what needs to be built. These disciplines can be handled by one or multiple people on a project.
- Product Management versus Project Management. These two disciplines are related, but they're not the same thing. Let's take a look at the differences between them. Think of it this way Product Management is the discipline of making sure that people will enjoy what you make, find it valuable, or that it can integrate successfully with other tools and components. Product Management makes sure that what is made is useful and valuable. Project Management makes sure that what you are making can be created.
It determines the schedule, available resources and evaluates that there is enough time, resources and budget to get the project done. Think of your product as a circle. Outside of the circle are the users or components that need to work with the product. On the inside, are the individuals that will need to make the product. The role of Product Management is to gather what the users or dependencies need in the product and translate that into things or features for the team to build.
The role of Project Management is to schedule the work that needs to be done, monitor how well the team is doing at completing their project and communicate back to the Product Manager. Both of these are unique disciplines that have an inward and outward perspective on what needs to be made, but that doesn't mean that there needs to be both a Product Manager and a Project Manager on a team. In fact, often the Product Manager does both Product and Project Management and works internally and externally, and sometimes Project Management is done by someone without a Project Manager title like an Engineering Manager.
Regardless of who does what, Product Management focuses on making something that people want, that solves a problem, while Project Management focuses on the feasibility of building what needs to be built.
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- Types of products and industries
- Leading through influence
- Understanding your team
- Using an agile or waterfall development cycle
- Managing your product life cycle
- Researching your market, customers, and ideas
- Planning the product
- Building the product
- Releasing the product
- Refining the product
- Understanding when it's time to retire the product