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A Perspective Of Project Management And Product Management

For those who have had experiences working as a project manager, the concepts and activities of project management come very natural. Project management practices have been around since ancient times. As early as 2570 BC, there were records of project managers doing the planning, coordination, and construction for the Great Pyramid of Giza. The history of modern Project Management is said to have started around 1950. Today, it is largely popularised by accredited bodies such as the Project Management Institute (PMI®️) - Project Management Body of Knowledge, PRINCE2®️, etc. Interesting things to know about Product Management  Product management came as a more recent development. It was started by Neil McElroy in 1931 as a memo written to justify the hiring of more product managers. In recent years, product management had been infiltrating the Infocomm and Tech industry through the development of methodologies such as Scrum and Agile Manifesto. Comparing the two roles and practices, there are often misconceptions that Product Management and Project Management are interchangeable terms. That is to say, a Project Manager role is similar or interchangeable with a Product Manager role. Project Management vs. Product Management Perspective Let’s try to identify the differences between the two by first looking at the definitions of Project Management and Product Management. How does “project” differ from “product”? The term “Project” as defined by PMI’s guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge is- “A temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. A project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.” Whereas the term “Product” refers to- “A service or an item offered for sale in the market. The value of a product depends on the market, the quality, the marketing and the segment of audiences that is targeted. Each product has a lifecycle after which it needs replacement or upgrade of features.” From the above definitions, a project and product are different. For illustration purposes, a project is similar to someone performing a “task”. The task is bound by a timeframe and has a defined scope and resources. A product, on the other hand, is the output of the project or task. It is like the goods or services produced as the output to the work performed on the task.Which is better - Project or Product Management?It is very difficult to tell. But having both the Product Manager and the Project Manager at the team level will contribute to the successful completion of product in a positive way. It is not about choosing the best. Both the Project Manager and Product Manager are equally important for yielding a long-term business success.Let us now explore further into the roles and responsibilities of Project Management and Product Management.Comparison of Project and Product Management According to Blackblot Product Manager’s Toolkit (PMTK) Methodology, “Product Management is an occupational domain which contains two main disciplines. They are the- a) Product Planning andb) Product Marketing. Product Planning is focused on knowing the customers well and being the advocacy of the customer. It is an ongoing process of identifying and articulating market requirements that defines a product’s features set. Product Marketing is about knowing the business value of the product. They refer to activities aimed at generating products awareness, product differentiation and demand.” In the same context, PMI’s definition of Project Management refers to “the application of several techniques, skills, knowledge and tools to ensure that the project is able to meet the requirements.”Therefore, there are even more distinct differences between the project and product manager in terms of roles and responsibilities of a Project Manager as compared to that required for a Product Manager. The Product Manager’s role is focused on delivering value and increasing the intrinsic value of the product. To do these, the Product Manager need to get to know the users of the product well. Project managementvsProduct managementProject Knowledge  baseProduct Knowledge baseProject Portfolio analysisCompetitive analysisProject CharterProduct Portfolio analysisProject management planMarket strategy planTask breakdown structureMarket requirements documentsEarned value analysisProduct  requirement documentsFeasibility studyProduct business caseCommunication planProduct roadmapProcurement planTechnology roadmapQuality assurance planLaunch planRisk management planMarketing planStatus reportEnd of product life planAlso, the Product Manager should take on the roles of a business analyst in articulating and defining the requirements to the product team. He/She should also be a marketing specialist to promote the product and be responsible for driving usage and awareness. An important role of the Product Manager is also determining which features to roll out first and the time-to-market for the product. These skills are even more relevant in an Agile environment where there are multiple software releases and the role of a product manager is important in ensuring that the team is “building the right product”. Lets see the comparison between the Project and Product management in the tabular form. A Project Manager’s responsibilities is to organise the team to deliver the project requirements within the approved budget and resources given. The Project Manager is focused on the process and the application of the right tools and method to complete the predefined task or assignment within a certain timeframe. The Project Manager role is to ensure that the team is “building the product right”.Hence in summary While transitioning from the project manager role to product manager, you need to keep one thing in mind-A Project Manager’s role is to ensure that the team is ‘building the product in a right way’. Whereas, a Product Manager’s role is to ensure that the team is ‘building the right product’. In essence, a Product Manager should work closely with a Project Manager to ensure better synergy and success in the implementation of the project or product. The project management and the product management roles do not overlap one another, but complement each other.  Both perform different functions and work hand-in-hand to ensure the delivery and success of the implementation of a project or product.

A Perspective Of Project Management And Product Management

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  • by lorraine ong
  • 10th Aug, 2018
  • Last updated on 11th Mar, 2021
  • 4 mins read
A Perspective Of Project Management And Product Management

For those who have had experiences working as a project manager, the concepts and activities of project management come very natural. Project management practices have been around since ancient times. As early as 2570 BC, there were records of project managers doing the planning, coordination, and construction for the Great Pyramid of Giza. The history of modern Project Management is said to have started around 1950.
 
Today, it is largely popularised by accredited bodies such as the Project Management Institute (PMI®️) - Project Management Body of Knowledge, PRINCE2®️, etc.
 
Interesting things to know about Product Management
 Product management came as a more recent development. It was started by Neil McElroy in 1931 as a memo written to justify the hiring of more product managers. In recent years, product management had been infiltrating the Infocomm and Tech industry through the development of methodologies such as Scrum and Agile Manifesto. Comparing the two roles and practices, there are often misconceptions that Product Management and Project Management are interchangeable terms. That is to say, a Project Manager role is similar or interchangeable with a Product Manager role.
 
Project Management vs. Product Management Perspective
 
Let’s try to identify the differences between the two by first looking at the definitions of Project Management and Product Management.
 
How does “project” differ from “product”?
 
The term “Project” as defined by PMI’s guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge is-
 
“A temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. A project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.”
 
Whereas the term “Product” refers to-
 
“A service or an item offered for sale in the market. The value of a product depends on the market, the quality, the marketing and the segment of audiences that is targeted. Each product has a lifecycle after which it needs replacement or upgrade of features.”
 
From the above definitions, a project and product are different. For illustration purposes, a project is similar to someone performing a “task”. The task is bound by a timeframe and has a defined scope and resources. A product, on the other hand, is the output of the project or task. It is like the goods or services produced as the output to the work performed on the task.
Which is better - Project or Product Management?

It is very difficult to tell. But having both the Product Manager and the Project Manager at the team level will contribute to the successful completion of product in a positive way. It is not about choosing the best. Both the Project Manager and Product Manager are equally important for yielding a long-term business success.
Let us now explore further into the roles and responsibilities of Project Management and Product Management.

Comparison of Project and Product Management
 
According to Blackblot Product Manager’s Toolkit (PMTK) Methodology, “Product Management is an occupational domain which contains two main disciplines. They are the-
 
a) Product Planning and
b) Product Marketing.
 
Product Planning is focused on knowing the customers well and being the advocacy of the customer. It is an ongoing process of identifying and articulating market requirements that defines a product’s features set. Product Marketing is about knowing the business value of the product. They refer to activities aimed at generating products awareness, product differentiation and demand.”
 
In the same context, PMI’s definition of Project Management refers to “the application of several techniques, skills, knowledge and tools to ensure that the project is able to meet the requirements.”
Therefore, there are even more distinct differences between the project and product manager in terms of roles and responsibilities of a Project Manager as compared to that required for a Product Manager. The Product Manager’s role is focused on delivering value and increasing the intrinsic value of the product. To do these, the Product Manager need to get to know the users of the product well.

 

Project managementvsProduct management
Project Knowledge  base
Product Knowledge base
Project Portfolio analysis
Competitive analysis
Project Charter
Product Portfolio analysis
Project management plan
Market strategy plan
Task breakdown structure
Market requirements documents
Earned value analysis
Product  requirement documents
Feasibility study
Product business case
Communication plan
Product roadmap
Procurement plan
Technology roadmap
Quality assurance plan
Launch plan
Risk management plan
Marketing plan
Status report
End of product life plan


Also, the Product Manager should take on the roles of a business analyst in articulating and defining the requirements to the product team. He/She should also be a marketing specialist to promote the product and be responsible for driving usage and awareness. An important role of the Product Manager is also determining which features to roll out first and the time-to-market for the product. These skills are even more relevant in an Agile environment where there are multiple software releases and the role of a product manager is important in ensuring that the team is “building the right product”.
 
Lets see the comparison between the Project and Product management in the tabular form.


 A Project Manager’s responsibilities is to organise the team to deliver the project requirements within the approved budget and resources given. The Project Manager is focused on the process and the application of the right tools and method to complete the predefined task or assignment within a certain timeframe. The Project Manager role is to ensure that the team is “building the product right”.

Hence in summary
 
While transitioning from the project manager role to product manager, you need to keep one thing in mind-

A Project Manager’s role is to ensure that the team is ‘building the product in a right way’. Whereas, a Product Manager’s role is to ensure that the team is ‘building the right product’.
 
In essence, a Product Manager should work closely with a Project Manager to ensure better synergy and success in the implementation of the project or product. The project management and the product management roles do not overlap one another, but complement each other.  Both perform different functions and work hand-in-hand to ensure the delivery and success of the implementation of a project or product.

lorraine

lorraine ong

Blog Author

Lorraine Ong is a skilled Strategist, Program and Product Manager, with 18 years of IT Management experience. She holds multiple certifications including PMP, Blackblot Product Management Professional, ScrumMaster, Scrum Product Owner, ITIL, CITPM, and J2EE Enterprise Architect. She has experience in policy writing and successfully lead teams in various large scale projects, products and programs implementations in MNCs and organisations.

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It has been in use for over 60 years, and has been proven to help project managers to smoothen workflows, ironing out any obstacles to progress. helps project managers to: Prioritize activities Identify activities that can run simultaneously Optimize resource allocation Track progress in real time Comply with deadlines Simplify dependencies Get a wide, bird’s-eye perspective on all project activities Calculating Variables Within the Critical PathCritical path activities are the ones without a Free Float or Total Float. Once the duration of each activity is established and the interrelationship and sequence between the activities are established, the next step is to calculate the float for each activity.  The earliest start date and earliest finish date are calculated for each activity. Comparing these with preceding and succeeding activities gives the float for each activity.  There will be one chain of activities where the float is zero for every activity. This means that any delay in any of these activities will result in a delay in the chain which will impact on the completion date for the program. Tools and Software to Calculate Critical PathThere are a few tools or methods that are popularly used to find the Critical Path in a project.  Activity On Node (AON):Is a method that represents activities in a diagram to show interdependencies between them. Once durations, early start date, and early finish date are assigned, the critical path can be mapped by using the earliest start date for each activity. This technique is called Forward Pass.  Using the Latest Start date and Latest Finish Date and starting from project completion, you can calculate the critical path through a similar technique called Backward pass. GANTT:Charts are used for simpler projects where activities are represented in a bar chart format instead of a network chart. This is an alternate method of finding the critical path in a project. PERT or Program Evaluation and Review Technique:Works based on a similar principle to other methods. It dismisses the notion that there is a fixed amount of time for an activity to be completed. Instead, it estimates a best-case scenario, worst case scenario, and an ordinary scenario to estimate the amount of time each activity takes. It calculates variance and standard deviation to see which activities are likely to risk delaying the project by exceeding the time they are estimated to take.  PERT is a more dynamic method that is more suitable to make flexible project plans as it accounts for the fact that time taken for activities cannot be estimated or predicted accurately.Software for calculating Critical PathThe calculations can seem complex and if done manually it may end up being a time-consuming exercise. Thankfully, project management software come with options to calculate the critical path. MS Project, Wrike, Capterra, Mavenlink, Buildertrend, and WorkflowMax, among others, have features that help the user to identify and monitor the critical path in their projects and keep an eye on activities that are nearing the maximum delay, threatening to derail the project deliveries. Closing Thoughts Even though the Critical Path Method was created in a different era, it is still relevant in today’s world, where projects have grown to be more complex and time sensitive. Software has added teeth to proven techniques like the Critical Path Method to make them more efficient and to give project managers more insight and faster updates. Organizations today operate in the midst of volatility, and projects have out of necessity become more flexible and dynamic. Using tools like the Critical Path or its improved variations supported by evolving software is a necessary element to project success. 
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What Is Critical Path Method in Project Management

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