Product vs Project Management

Product vs Project Management

As productivity enthusiasts, we hear these terms on a daily basis, but confidently understanding the difference is critical to avoiding the ‘dummy’ label with our colleagues. 

Whether you’re deciding to focus your career in one of these roles or you just want to understand what people are talking about, we’ll nail down the distinction between project and product management and find how they relate to one another.

Project Management

Project managers are conductors of the general workflow, efficiency, and communication of teams. Their goal is to simply execute on the vision of the product manager.

They bring together every skill they’ve picked up in life to employ the most efficient process they can imagine and get things done right with the resources they have.

The best project managers are able to exercise an organizationally strategic mind and ambitious goals. Basically, they’re the people you avoid when asked to play board games. You’ll want to replicate their approach to viewing systems as a whole.

They carefully orchestrate their team to accomplish an astonishing number of tasks in a limited amount of time.

All in all, project management involves overseeing complex efforts from many participants with varying skillsets. A management system will ultimately be judged by its ability to successfully complete project objectives on time and on budget, so the goal is to place the best people in the right places to do productive things at the right times.

Product Management

Product management is all about planning, designing, and improving the product. Decisions made by product managers are then transferred to project managers, who execute on the overall vision. 

To stay competitive, they must keep a keen eye on existing products in their industry as well as the evolving needs of their potential customers to define how products should change or what new products need to be made.

A product manager holds the responsibility of design choices, naming, and core branding. 

Basically, product managers envision the product, and project managers ensure that vision is realized in a timely and under-budget fashion.

Why Both?

While many teams and products have only one person acting as both product and project manager, it’s crucial for any scalable product to have two separate entities.

Project managers must concentrate on process and efficiency, while product managers exclusively concern themselves with strategy and design.

Ideally, the product manager should be free to maximize his or her time on product metrics, customer analysis, and defining/refining the product core vision.

The project manager should use those defined parameters to initiate, plan, control, and execute on project goals.  

Great project managers work closely with their product manager, realizing that delivering as much value as possible in a collaborative, resourceful way is the team’s mutual goal.

The digital era has spurred incredible leaps in productivity by bringing together both management styles.

Nonetheless, project management software and product management software are commonly separated into two different platforms. 

ClickUp, however, aims to combine both product and project management workflows into one productivity platform. 


Written by Technology Advice


  • Wes Brummette

    Nice always been confusing terms

  • Karl Hueber

    Great read! I get this question a lot and am happy I can now share this blog post. ClickUp has made our product and project management workflows easy and collaborative.

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