Project Manager vs Product Manager: What’s the difference?

Adriana Girdler

And why it even matters? The title “project manager” might sound similar to the title “product manager,” but they are not the same thing. And …

And why it even matters?

The title “project manager” might sound similar to the title “product manager,” but they are not the same thing. And while there are some similarities and overlap in skills, there are really key differences between the role of a project manager vs a product manager.

Project vs Product

Before we even get into the difference between a project manager vs product manager, we need to understand the key differences between a project and a product.

Understanding definitions is a necessary starting point for diving into this topic and really understanding those key differences.

What is a project?

A project is a temporary single initiative that generally has constraints around resources, budget, and time. A project has a clear start and end date to deliver a specific outcome.

What is a product?

A product is a good, service, platform, application, system, etc., that is created to meet customer and business needs. There is no fixed end date for a product as continuous discovery and development is ongoing.

So, what is the difference when it comes to management?

There are several differences in the roles of project vs product managers.

While a project manager has a specific team reporting into them for the duration of that project, a product manager sees the lifecycle of a product itself including the strategy and vision associated with making that product come to fruition.

These roles are not exactly the same in nature, and there are many key differences to be aware of if you’re debating between a project vs product manager role.

Details of the differences

Let’s dive into the details of the differences between project vs. product managers. Head over to my YouTube channel with me and we’ll keep chatting about this on my most recent video!

If you’re looking into a project management career and want to lead every project to success, make sure you check out my SLAY Project Management course where I give you all the templates, tips, and techniques to implement to SLAY your projects.


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Adriana Girdler is a project manager, productivity specialist, entrepreneur, professional speaker, facilitator, visioning wizard, and author. As President of CornerStone Dynamics, Adriana is one of Canada’s prominent business productivity and project management specialists—helping both individuals and businesses do what they do, only better. She is a certified master black belt lean six sigma with over 20 years’ experience improving how companies work.

She also holds both PMP (project management professional) and CET (certified engineering technologist) designations. She’s a Tedx speaker, as well as a HuffPost and Thrive Global contributor. She has been interviewed on Global, CBC, CTV, CHCH, 680News Radio, Newstalk 1010, Sirius XM and published in the Globe and Mail and numerous industry magazines. WANT ADRIANA'S FREE ONLINE TRAINING? In 45 min, learn Adriana's 5 project management secrets she use on EVERY project. Sign up for the Free Webinar here: THE FAB FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

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