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Project management vs business management explained 7 min read
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Running a business requires both project management and business management skills, but they’re actually two different fields of management. The leadership roles within these fields come with different responsibilities.

In this article, you’ll learn about the significant differences between project management vs business management, and how they each contribute to achieving a business’s objectives and goals. We’ll also share how you can leverage many of’s project features to optimize your projects and manage your business better.

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Project management vs business management: what’s the difference?

Ultimately, the key difference between project management and business management lies in the nature of the work.

Project management refers to the successful execution of one or several projects within limitations such as time, scope, cost, and quality. The project manager in question focuses on tasks such as coordinating resources, project planning, allocating the budget, acting as an intermediary between clients, and keeping the team motivated and on track to complete the project with optimal results.

Business management refers to the oversight of business operations in a specific area to ensure everything is running smoothly. This could include sales, marketing, manufacturing, and more.

Let’s take a closer look at what project management vs business management looks like side-by-side:

Project managementBusiness management
Primary focus on single projectsPrimary focus on tasks involving daily operations
Purpose is to create, manage, and achieve project goalsPurpose is to manage and organize operations to achieve business objectives
Deals with the management of project budgets and resourcesDeals with the management of daily workplace budgets and resources
Management is based on each project’s timeline and has a start and end dateManagement is permanent although operational goals may change
Focuses on increasing efficiency and productivity within project teamsFocuses on increasing efficiency and productivity within the entire workplace
Can be complex and has a single objectiveManagement is always related to products/services and processes
The manager and team member roles are project-based (temporary)The manager and team member roles are permanent, as is the process

How does a project manager differ from a business manager?

A project manager focuses on tasks such as coordinating resources, project planning, allocating a budget, acting as an intermediary between clients, and motivating the team to complete a project with optimal results.

A business manager, on the other hand, focuses on daily operational tasks such as sales, marketing, manufacturing, and so on.

Let’s take a look at what the roles of a project manager and business manager look like side-by-side:

AreaProject ManagerBusiness Manager
TasksThe focus is on the coordination and execution of a project or projects.The focus is on managing various daily operational tasks with business objectives in mind. They’re usually associated with one department of a business.
PlanningPlanning revolves around the coordination of a specific project and team roles within that project.Planning is typically done once per year to review any changing business objectives and includes other department or general managers.
BudgetingMust monitor the specific budget allocated for the project.Helps to manage the overall business budget, which is usually consistent and predictable.
TimelinesProjects have a start date and an end date.This type of management does not have an end date, making it a constant position.
GoalsThe goal is to achieve that objective within the scope, timeline, and budget of the project.The goal is to maintain consistent operational or departmental functioning while managing working relationships.
Measuring and reportingA project manager must define key performance indicators (KPIs) to manage and measure progress within a project.KPIs revolve around service continuity, outputs, product sales, and other operational functions.


How to use project management to support positive business management

When you consider project management vs business management, you’re essentially comparing apples and oranges. While the necessary tasks in running a small business are to those of running a corporation, both will use some essential management skills to allocate resources, direct staff, and market their products.

For example, as a business grows, several operational aspects can lose efficacy. Signs of this can include:

  • Missed deadlines
  • Prioritization mistakes
  • Conflicts regarding resources and effort
  • Task planning and execution issues
  • A lack of required information
  • Poor communication and mediation with clients

A general business manager will often find themselves overwhelmed as operations grow and objectives change. Project management can help by implementing a structured framework by which a specific goal is achieved, which works by maximizing resources and productivity.

Generally speaking, project management gives businesses greater control over their operations by managing them on a smaller scale.

In other words, things like product or service quality, customer service, marketing, and more can be optimized by having a project manager prioritize specific tasks and assign teams to them. Not only does this free up time for business managers to focus on operational goals and productivity, it streamlines business growth by properly delegating tasks and resources — all within a specific timeframe.

Get started features to optimize your project and business management

If you want to successfully implement project management strategies to complement your business management and overall operational goals, you’ll need a platform that will allow you to prioritize and streamline all of your tasks, tools, documents, and more. can help you drive growth by enabling you to create effective workflows that bring your teams together to reach project goals more efficiently. Work OS allows you to manage multiple projects from one place. From strategic planning to project management, these features help you and your team drive your projects home:

  • Gantt charts: Create a project road map that keeps track of a project’s scope, schedule, milestones, dependencies, resources, and metrics.
  • Project dashboards: Get access to real-time and high-level data for your project’s goals, budget, scheduling, resources, and more to make better-informed decisions in seconds.
  • Workload View: Manage your team resources, assign tasks, and adapt to changing priorities.
  • Milestone calendars: Mark and manage significant checkpoints in a project’s timeline and measure and share progress with clients and team members.
  • Advanced integrations: Connect to your most important tools like Google Drive, Slack, and Salesforce to align teams across your business.
  • Project templates: Choose from a variety of pre-designed templates from our template center that you can customize for every new project. is also made me to be used by project managers and business managers alike. For example, you can use the Portfolio Management Template to manage multiple project dashboards and workflows.

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What is the next role after a project manager?

After gaining experience and becoming a senior project manager, you have several options: You can become a chief operating officer (COO) of a company, management consultant, program manager, or even a portfolio manager.

Is PMO a stressful job?

Yes, project management can be very stressful. PMOs are responsible for on-time delivery of projects that are also on budget, meeting client expectations, and handling hefty to-do lists.

What is the career path of a project manager?

After gaining experience in the field, a project manager will typically be on track to senior- or executive-level positions in project management. This includes project management office (PMO) and director or chief operating officer (COO) positions and more.

Master project and business workflows with 

Strategic project management can complement your business management processes by zeroing in on priority tasks and ensuring they’re completed efficiently. This will give your business management team more time to focus on operational growth and other overall business objectives. It also ensures product and service objectives are delivered on time and surpass client expectations.

You can set up the solid processes and analysis you need for both project management and business management using

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