The Key Responsibilities Between Project and Product Management
An organization has many verticals, and each of them has a well-defined role to play in its smooth functioning. For example, you have salespeople looking after selling, HR personnel working as administrators, account people overseeing the financial aspects, and learning and development staff taking care of corporate training.
Likewise, an organization can also have project management and product management verticals. We’ll walk you through the difference between these roles, their demand in today’s company structure, and the keys for success between project and product management.
So, what is the difference?
Product managers and project managers often work in tandem, but their roles are different. One is responsible for building the product, while the other is responsible for executing the project.
Product managers work in close association with marketing, sales, and customers, and are responsible for the research and evolution of the product. They set the direction of the product. However, project managers take their cue from the product direction and execute the vision. They ensure that the product is delivered on time and meets the product’s goals.
Put simply, product managers are accountable for the “why” and “what” of developing a product, and project managers are accountable for the “when” and “how.” Their roles are different, but they work closely to make sure that the product develops and reaches the market on time and within the set guidelines of the company.
The scope of work is another major difference that sets product managers apart from project managers. While project managers have to start and finish their given project in a fixed timeframe, the product managers stay with the product throughout the product’s lifecycle. From the developmental stage and launch of the product to client feedback, updates, and improvement, product managers stay with the product at every stage of the product’s lifetime.
Product managers also have to coordinate with other teams – such as sales, marketing and customer service. They are also responsible for networking with potential beta and trail users to take valuable feedback. Conversely, project managers mostly work internally and ensure that the project remains on track.
As for the educational qualifications, it is not essential to have a technical or engineering background to become a product manager, but project managers mostly come from a technical background, such as engineering, development or design to oversee the projects effectively.
To have a successful product team, you need to ensure that your product and project teams work together harmoniously. When they work in unison, you can expect to get a better product.
Both are in demand
Both product managers and project managers are in demand. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the demand over the next 10 years for project managers is growing faster than demand for workers in other occupations. Organizations, however, face risks from this talent gap.
In the 11 countries studied by Anderson Economic Group (AEG) for the PMI-commissioned talent gap analysis, they found that excellent jobs and career growth opportunities exist for project managers. The project management-oriented workforce in seven project-oriented sectors is likely to grow by 33 percent for a projected total of 22 million new jobs through 2027.
The report also points out that project managers are valuable contributors to productivity. In case there is a talent shortage in this profession, it can create risks of around USD208 billion in GDP by 2027 in the 11 countries analyzed.
Key to success between project and product management
As mentioned earlier, if you want great results, your project and product teams should closely work in tandem. The key to success between project and product management lies in coordination.
According to Chris Bolick, Northeastern University assistant academic specialist for project management, successful project managers should have the following qualities:
High emotional intelligence – “This is a critical skill for project managers, who need to be able to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Emotions drive our behavior and the emotions of those whom with we’re interacting. Recognizing emotions and actively engaging with others is the key to building effective project teams.”
In emotionally-charged scenarios like handling challenging personalities, dealing with setbacks, or taking and giving feedback, an emotionally intelligent project manager can help resolve most of the issues positively as well as productively.
Should have a nimble mind – “Project management involves dealing with ambiguity, such as translating a grand idea without a lot of details behind it into a real plan. Project managers need to be comfortable communicating with everyone from company leaders to colleagues to indirect project contributors. For example, they may interview stakeholders and need to go back to ask for clarification, and can’t be afraid to ask for that from a senior-level executive.”
Project managers need to be ethical – “Another key element of project management is learning to manage ethically within an organization. Project management is all about ethically delivering on expectations. At times this may not be the easiest path, but it is important for project management practitioners to do what is right and honorable; this will establish trust and credibility within the organization.”
They need to be great listeners –“Most projects that fail do so because of poor communication. There is tremendous value in having people who are mindful of how to be an influencer and communicator and how to deal with ambiguity. Those skills are critical, particularly for large-scale projects where many of the details have not yet been fleshed out. People often think communicating is only about talking, yet listening is just as important.”
They need to be persistent – “The project management field isn’t for someone who is timid. You’re responsible for pulling together resources, motivating team members, addressing conflicts, engaging stakeholders, and maintaining control of the project plan. Hardly a day that goes by where there is a routine schedule. Most of the day is spent communicating with others and problem-solving.”
How it all comes together – the need for content distribution security
For the product manager and project manager – as well as everyone in your organization – keeping your company’s valuable data secure is essential. Our blog post – “What Are Document Management Systems Used For?” provides a good introduction to the benefits of digitally organizing your office records.
Again, organizations succeed based on the efforts of multiple teams. Cloud-based collaboration tools, digital file transfers, and email are all relied upon to bring teams together in order to communicate and complete projects. In addition to this type of information sharing, companies frequently need to share information with partners, customers and suppliers across town and around the world.
However, the information that is being shared isn’t always for public consumption. For many companies, their proprietary systems and plans are their most valuable assets. From trade secrets to product designs to product launch information, this digital content needs to be secure.
DocuServe is an industry-leading cloud-based document management system that can keep your digital content safe. We can help you improve the productivity and efficiency of your employees and streamline your processes. Contact us today to learn more.