Product Management

Product Manager versus Project Manager

By Stratrix Staff Writer

Boston, MA | Updated 30 Mar, 2021

Product Manager versus Project Manager – the age-old debate of who does what and what is different between the two roles.  However, in real life, it is not product manager versus project manager that we’d need to worry about as often they work in conjunction with each other and both roles are vital to the success of a product or an enterprise.

However, at a foundational level, there are differences in what a product manager does and what a project manager does.  The infographic and the table below summarize the essential traits of each role and juxtapose the differences.

We hope now whenever there is a debate about product manager versus project manager, you are well-informed to clarify the matters.

Product Manager versus Project Manager:

A Summary of Differences between the role of a project manager and a product manager.

Product Managers own the “Vision.” Project managers own “Execution.”
Product managers synthesize and communicate “strategy.” Project managers consolidate work tasks and communicate “status.”
Product manager creates a Product Roadmap Project Manager creates the “Schedule.”
A vital focus area for a product manager is “Content.” A project manager’s core focus is on “coordination.”
A product manager spends a lot of time on “Feature Conceptualization.” A project manager spends time on “Feature Delivery.”
A product may have multiple projects and project managers A project manager may manage a project or projects that span multiple products
A product manager tries to optimize for the form and function of the product A project manager strives for optimizing cost, speed, and quality.
A product manager is responsible for feature definition A project manager (with help from business analysts) is responsible for requirements definition
A senior product leader may manage a “Product Portfolio.” A senior project leader may manage a “program.”
A product manager makes their name based on product success in the marketplace A project manager makes their name based on project success internally