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Project Manager vs Product Manager

Here we will discuss the responsibilities of both the project manager and product manager. As well as we will discuss how these two important roles are different from each other.

Responsibility of Project Manager

Planning

a) Confirmation of project’s scope, quality, schedule, and cost.

b) Standardization and normalization of project’s process/task.

c) General and phased planning according to the integration of the project’s scope, quality, schedule, and cost.

d) Getting approval and recognition of various plans from superior, customer, and project member.

Organizing

a) Organizing various resources based on the project’s need

b) Defining various roles of the project team and allocating every role’s responsibility and authority.

c) Customizing communication plans for internal and external stakeholders.

d) Arranging roles in the project team such as requirement analyst and customer contact, et al. And arranging communication between internal project members and customer.

e) Dealing with the relationships between internal project members and other stakeholders.

f) Dealing with the relationships between various roles or members in the project team

g) Arranging training activities for customers.

Leading

a) Assuring every member in the project team has a common understanding of the project’s goal.

b) Creating an exploitation environment and atmosphere for the project team, and assuring project team members focusing on the project scope and not being affected by other aspects of the project.

c) Raising project team’s morale and enhancing team cohesiveness.

d) Reasonably arranging every team member’s work and ensuring saturation of every member’s work

e) Developing a plan for recruitment and training if needed.

f) Regularly arranging technical training for the project team and industrial training for the whole project

g) Detecting problems of the project team in time

h) Solving problems of the project team in time

Controlling

a) Achieving the project’s goal by finishing the project’s scope under the constraints of budget, quality, and schedule.

b) Monitoring and examining the workmanship of team members during every stage of the project life cycle.

c) Reporting to leaders regularly of project’s work progress and issues accounted from project’s development

d) Knowing about team members’ work progress, managing, and planning configuration of the project.

Responsibility of product manager

Planning and Executing

1) Responsible for sales and marketing plans of product lines, the strategy of market promotion, marketing action plans, and coordinating between the market department and other departments to realize the action plan;

2) Organizing various of publicizing materials, product materials, and training materials, and performing product training and sales training to the salesman and relevant staff.

3) Coordinating market promotion activities of relevant product lines;

4) Negotiation with various departments’ leaders to develop market promotion plans and action plans for relevant product lines, executing and achieving the market promotion plans of the product lines;

5) Developing and executing the sales strategy

The core value of product manager

a) Acknowledgment and analysis of industry

b) Analysis and systematization of requirement

c) User experience and product design

Project Management Study Materials
Certifications PMI Offers

Project Manager vs Product Manager: The Differences

Knowledge background

First of all, from the point of knowledge area, technical background is required for project management. A typical project manager is a research and development engineer with rich project experience. His/her responsibility is to transfer the project’s goal into a measurable and achievable project plan, which means his/her job focuses on an aspect of execution. On the other hand, the knowledge area of a product manager is usually wider, but not necessarily require a technical background.

Duty cycle

Second of all, from the point of duty cycle, a project manager has to carry one’s duty through to the end. The project manager can switch to another project once he/she finishes a project while the product manager can not. The product manager has to grow up with his/her product, and the growth of a product usually comes along with countless projects, each of which is an iteration of the product.

Points of focus

The product manager focuses on “what product should do?”.

Responsible for product’s plan, including market analysis, components analysis, user analysis et al. Developing product scheme and plan, and coordinating product design, industrial design, and product development et al.

In a word, the product manager is in charge of the requirement and concept of the product.

The project manager focuses on “how to develop the product?”

After the product manager defines the requirement and concept of the product, it’s the project manager’s job to establish a team and realize the product using the methodology of project management. The main factors under consideration would be schedule, cost, quality, and production et al.

In a word, the project manager is in charge of the achievement of the product which has been defined by the product manager.

Substantial differences

Fourth, if a product could be compared to a child, then the product manager would be the child’s mother, and the project manager would be a teacher of a certain stage of the child’s growing up. There are different types of teachers. For instance, a primary school teacher can teach a class of students from grade one to grade six. After the child’s graduation from primary school, this teacher would switch to another class of students. From this metaphor, the relationship between the product manager and project manager can be clearly comprehended.

Please consider this: a child’s teacher can be changed, but how about the child’s mother?

Supplementing each other

Lastly, on the topic of project manager vs product manager, the most important thing is, the project managers and product managers supplement each other.

If a product manager could not provide a good concept, or a good strategy, or a good plan for a product, then the product’s development direction and the route would be wrong. In this scenario, even if the project manager had finished the project and achieve the product so well, there would be no success.

On the contrary, if the project manager could not nicely control the performance of the project, or deliver the product under constraints of schedule, quality, cost, and quantity, then the product plan would not be achieved, no matter how good the plan is.

In summary, the product manager determines the upper limit of a product, and the project manager determines the lower limit of achievement. Certainly, if there were not enough resources, all would be a tale of a tub.

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