Project Management Vs Product Management

Project Management Vs Product Management

Projects are the way that most new work gets delivered. Projects can be managed using a common set of project management processes. For instance, all projects should be defined and planned, and all projects should have processes to manage scope, risk, quality, status, etc.

Products on the other hand, are tangible items that are produced by a project. Project management can be thought of as a process. A product is delivered by a project. Product management is an approach for centrally coordinating the activities surrounding the long-term support and enhancement of a product. The person that executes these responsibilities is called a Product Manager.

The role of a Project Manager is to plan and manage a project. The role of a Product Manager is focused on the long-term support of the product within the organization. The product management role includes the following responsibilities.

Product Planning

Coordinate product issues

Primary contact with the product vendor

Monitor product direction with the vendor

Determine which components of the product should be used


Coordinate testing of new products and releases

Determine when a product is production-ready based on testing and pilot projects

Coordinate certification of new products and releases

Financial Management

Coordinate product contracts, purchase agreements, and maintenance agreements

Ensure that budget is available for product purchases and maintenance

Product Implementation and Deployment

Coordinate development of a product deployment plan

Manage deployment of the product or new releases

Track product inventory (where the product has been deployed)

Receive ongoing requests from the staff for individual product deployment

Product Release Management

Decide when to upgrade the product to new version

Plan and manage new release implementation

Product Retirement

Determine when product needs to be retired

Plan and manage product retirement

This process covers a product from its inception until the product is no longer viable.

Product management is hard. Project management is also hard but at least there are many methodology products and tools to assist.