When it comes to project management vs. product management, the terms are often used interchangeably without consideration of their core differences. This could be because both concepts are often shortened to “PM,” and the people or teams in these roles are responsible for reaching established business goals.

Understanding the key differences in product and project management can facilitate a better understanding of your company’s inner workings. In this article, we’ll compare project and product management and introduce valuable tools and templates you can use on monday.com to help achieve your product vision or project plan.

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What is project management?

Project management is the process of overseeing a team responsible for applying the processes, skills, and experience necessary to achieve predetermined objectives. These objectives work within predefined parameters, with clear criteria, that help a project move towards successful completion of a primary objective or goal.

Project management uses established industry-accepted tools like workflow or Gantt charts throughout a project’s life cycle. These tools, paired with attention to detail and an understanding of best management practices allow for a successful project completion.

You can use project management to:

  • Produce something new — usually outside your company’s usual operations
  • Bring together a temporary group of individuals from different departments or locations for a concerted effort
  • Provide a greater chance of success in a short-term endeavor
  • Create a singular contact point for stakeholders and company leaders
  • Ensure the most efficient use of resources
  • Enable forward-moving progress necessary for projects to meet deadlines

What is product management?

Product management may make use of a project timeline that brings a product to fruition. However, the primary purpose of product management is the creation, management, troubleshooting, and marketing of an organization’s products or services. Product management involves someone — or a team of people — in charge of:

  • Product strategy and implementation: This includes pitching new ideas for products and ensuring they meet the needs or desires of customers. A product strategy also involves market research, developing a product roadmap, and creating a designated marketing campaign.
  • Product development and production: This includes working with engineering and design team members to bring a product idea to life. The development team must ensure that products meet safety standards and adhere to industry specifications.

A product manager plays a key role as the single contact point between various teams and departments. Their purpose is to keep these teams moving forward to accomplish a product release on time while ensuring the initial product vision — typically developed by a product owner — is upheld.

Obviously, project teams may be tasked with developing products as solutions to challenges or customer needs. So focus on a product isn’t the core difference between project and product management.

How does project management differ from product management?

The primary differences between product management and project management are the timelines and scope involved.

Projects are usually temporary endeavors. If you’re a project manager, you may jump from one objective to the next rather as your team completes final goals and objectives. The timeline for projects is finite and can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the end goal.

Products are physical goods or services that satisfy the customers’ needs, and management of these can extend through the lifetime of the product from development to retirement. Products don’t always come with the finite timelines of projects, so these teams and leaders won’t necessarily jump from one objective to the next quickly.

Whether you’re tackling a project or product management endeavor, using a robust Work OS like monday.com can help you streamline processes, increase efficiency, and save previous time.

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monday.com projects and product management

A solid project management solution that includes communication options, workflow automations, and templates to get you started can be invaluable in both cases. monday.com Work OS has the tools you need to keep your company moving forward when managing projects or planning product releases. Our core platform features include:

  • Customizable dashboards: Our customizable dashboards let you see product or project progress from one screen. View where multiple product or project efforts stand from one dashboard to identify bottlenecks, roadblocks, or other issues in your workflows.
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  • Effortless automation: Automate routine tasks and approvals to save time and increase efficiency. Use automation to streamline processes in product or project management.
  • Real-time collaboration: Our workdocs let you collaborate with your team in real-time, reducing time lost sending or receiving emails, calls, and texts. Team members from around the globe can work together and leave notes or work together in real-time regardless of location.
  • Useful integrations: Easily integrate your favorite tools with our Work OS to increase productivity and overall efficiency. A few examples of potential integrations include Dropbox, Slack, Outlook, and Microsoft Teams.

We also have a Template Center with 200+ useful templates to make product or project management faster and more efficient.

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Templates for product and project management

Templates help make teams more efficient by standardizing workflows, documentation, and reporting. You can take the guesswork out of reports, plans, and management when you’re given a solid pre-built foundation you can customize to fit unique needs.

Features and Releases Roadmap Template

Our Features and Releases Roadmap Template helps keep your whole product team on the same page. Use this template to:

  • Build features roadmaps and appropriately plan product releases
  • Prioritize major releases or assign priority levels to all relevant tasks
  • Assign each task to a team member
  • Track your plan’s progress by viewing and managing timelines or production statuses
  • Communicate with team members
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Software Development Template

Our Software Development Template can help you achieve goals and meet deadlines when developing software or related products. Use this template to:

  • Track cross-functional teamwork from one user-friendly interface
  • Plan upcoming product releases to keep everyone informed of statuses and timelines
  • Receive instant notifications about errors, tickets, and bugs so you can efficiently move forward with fixes

Project Management Template

Our Project Management Template takes the hassle and confusion out of managing projects so you can keep your team on the road to success. Use this template to:

  • Easily add your action items
  • Reorder action items based on priority to create a customized plan that fits your project’s needs
  • Assign action items to qualified team members
  • Monitor progress at every stage

FAQs about project management vs. product management

What is the difference between a project manager and a product owner?

A product owner supports the development team by serving as an internal customer expert. Their role is supportive and primarily revolves around clarifying requirements and answering questions. A project manager oversees the project, ensures teams meet deadlines, and operates as a single contact point for various involved groups.

Can a project manager become a product manager?

Yes, a project manager can become a product manager if that’s one of their career goals. Both positions use many of the same skills. However, a project manager may need additional training, experience, schooling, or certifications to take the step to product manager due to a few key differences in the operational capacities of these roles.

Streamline workflow management with monday.com

While many tools and processes overlap, there are a few key differences in what you need to succeed for project management vs. product management. monday.com has the tools you need to streamline product or project management processes.

Start planning with a few of our templates today. Then bring your entire project or product management teams to your boards for seamless communication and the ease of workflow automation.