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Product Manager vs Project Manager – Which Is Better?

Product Manager vs Project Manager

Product managers and Project managers play a crucial role in tech companies as well as other industries. Most of the time people get confused between the two roles because of similar skill requirements such as leadership skills and time management, but in reality, a product manager and a project manager are the two sides of the same coin. In this guide, let us learn about the differences between Product Manager vs Project Manager in an organization. 

The product manager is responsible for setting the vision of the product, gathering the requirements, and prioritizing accordingly. On the other hand, a project manager is responsible to act upon the set vision by ensuring that the project is executed smoothly within the set deadlines and budget. 

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What Is a Product Manager?

The product manager is a professional who sets a vision for the product as per his or her research, then communicates the vision to the entire organization. So, This way, the product manager starts creating a strategic action plan on successful approval by executives or stakeholders in the organization. It is done through a well-designed product roadmap in order to bring the envisioned product into reality. 

Further down the road, the product manager helps break the product roadmap into actionable plans, tasks, goals, and deadlines. And this is when the Project Manager comes into play. 

What Is a Project Manager? 

A Project Manager as the name suggests is a professional who is responsible for managing and leading organizational projects. They are responsible for planning, organizing, and executing the entire project through its closure within the set deadlines, resources, and budgets. 

Certifications Required

A few certifications that project managers and product managers can opt for getting a boost in their career are as follows: 

Product Manager Certifications  Project Manager Certifications 
Product School – Product Manager CertificatePragmatic Institute – Certified Product Manager AIPMM Certified Product Manager Credential Project Management Professional (PMP)Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)Professional Scrum Master (PSM I)
Certifications Required – Product Manager vs Project Manager

Product Manager vs Project Manager Key Responsibilities

To get an idea about the key responsibilities of a Product Manager and a Project, you can refer to the following table.

Product Manager Project Manager
Researching Breaking the initiatives into multiple actionable tasks. 
Setting a vision for the product Planning timelines for the project
Communicating the vision to the entire organization, which includes executives and stakeholders.  Allocating the project resources 
Developing strategic plans for the envisioned product. Monitoring completion of tasks
Creating the product roadmap.  Communicating project progress to stakeholders.
Product Manager vs Project Manager Key Responsibilities

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Can Product Managers and Project Managers Collaborate?

Product managers and project managers often need to work together with a joint vision of executing the tasks and responsibilities. Let’s look at an example. Suppose, there is a company that sells electronic goods online. Now, they want to develop an app that their customers can use for browsing the products on their mobile handsets. 

In such a situation, the company hires a product manager, who is going to be in charge of the development of the App by defining the goals, strategizing, and so on. In the same way, the same company will hire a project manager, who will be responsible for executing the set goals or vision into reality. 

What Is the Best Role for Your Team?

For instance, The right role for your team is dependent on your organizational goals and initiatives. Here are a few aspects that you can consider when it comes to choosing the right role-  product manager and project manager. 

Skills 

While for both product managers and project managers, soft skills such as communication skills, leadership skills, human skills, etc are crucial.

There are also technical skills that both these roles may possess. 

Product Manager Skills 

  • Data analysis
  • Market assessment
  • Price modeling
  • Basic user experience (UX) knowledge
  • Basic business knowledge

Project Manager Skills

  • Knowledge of PM approaches such as Scrum, Agile, and Waterfall
  • Risk management
  • Project management tools like Asana or Gantt charts
  • Basic budgeting

Job Role 

When it comes to the job role, a product manager may perform activities and tasks related to setting and planning the vision of the product, while a project manager executes the project and oversees it till its closure. 

Salary 

When we compare Product Manager vs Project Manager salaries, we find that they are highest in major East and West Coast metros. However, some industries favor one role over another, so the median salary for Product Managers and Product Managers differs.

As per Glassdoor, the average salary that a product manager makes is $1,13,446, while the average salary of a project manager is $88,907. 

Career Growth

Since Both the product manager and project managers are growing and in-demand professions. So regardless of what you choose, you can enjoy great job opportunities with high salary perks and benefits. 

Conclusion

So, Now you must have understood the key differences between the project manager and a product manager. Nevertheless, both of them are regarded as powerful duo, who complement each other with regards to achieving the common goals and objectives of the organization by working together to plan project deliveries and ultimately envisioning long-term success for the company. 

Both a project manager and product manager are essential for planning and executing organizational projects. If you liked this guide, let us know in the comment section. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can a product manager be a project manager?

A product manager can be a good project manager due to overlapping skills and similar interactions with the stakeholders. Moreover, many times some smaller companies may require a product manager to delve into project management as well. 

Which is better: Project Manager or Product Manager?

Both Project managers and product managers play a crucial role in an organization. A few ways in order to compare the two is through the salary range, and level of positions. A Product manager generally earns more than a project manager and is often responsible for overseeing higher-level decisions than a project manager. 

Is there any overlap between product and project managers?

Both product managers and project managers have a few overlapping skills such as communication skills, leadership skills, and they often work together to achieve the common goals of the product. 

How do I not end up as a project manager while working as a product manager?

Both the project manager and product manager might be interrelated, but have a different set of responsibilities in order to perform. Therefore, there might or might not be chances that the organization asks you to work as a project manager. 

Should a product manager be involved in project management and delivery management?

A product manager can be involved in project management and delivery management, but only to a point to ensure that the project is being executed and aligned as per the laid down vision and set goals. 

Why can’t a project manager be the product owner?

A project manager cannot be a product owner because of a lack of domain expertise, and the necessary skill set. In the same way, a product owner cannot be a project manager due to a lack of project management skills and knowledge. 

Do product owners become product managers?

A product owner is responsible for ensuring that the product development is carried out smoothly in accordance with the product roadmap, while the product manager studies the customer’s wants and needs, and develops the product vision and roadmap.

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