Project management guide on Checkykey.com. While it might seem to be a trivial, semantic issue it often leads to confusion about the two roles. These roles are not universal. The Project Manager has to focus more on the operational elements of the project he is handling. Program ManagerProgram Manager is the most common title in Seattle. made this analogy recently during a customer call. The key differences in these roles can be best understood in terms of the contributions they make at various stages of the project and the best way to understand that is in terms of questions. Very wrong. Today’s Product Managers have a similar holistic focus. In describing the product manager’s role, our friends at Mind the Product cite Marty Cagan’s book Inspired, which explains succinctly that the job of a product manager With program manager versus project manager, the key difference is … Let us first understand the terms that these roles have to manage. They also have to ensure that the team has everything it needs when it needs it, be it the resources or infrastructure. For those manageable tasks, they help coordinate work estimates (via Fibonacci, T-shirt sizing, planning poker, or another estimation process). Product or company names, logos, and trademarks referred to on this site belong to their respective owners. I enjoyed this article but I will say it was upsetting that in every instant they used “he” instead of “them” or “they”. He realized that the programmers were spending a ton of time writing code, but no one was balancing customer needs with marketing requests. Use the info. Ending thoughts on the product manager vs project manager debate The two managers will look at their roles from a different angle. This is how many of us feel when we do something new for the first time and we think people are watching. And maybe a touch of excitement. Can be seen reading comics and non-fiction books when not binging on movies and Netflix shows. 30 Types Of Business Models. Generally speaking, a program manager has broader responsibilities than the project manager. Project vs Program Management Planning. She writes on her personal blog and plays pinball in her spare time. Sometimes those feelings are…, “Let’s get it done ASAP.” How many times have you heard this from your boss? He has to also ensure that the marketing efforts are in sync with the company’s vision and goals. It may be a cliche,…, Have you ever quit a job because you did not get the promotion or title change that you wanted? This is a guest post by Ellen Chisa. The product manager works cross-functionally between all the different teams working on the product, for it’s ideation and engineering … Instead, they are a core piece of the Engineering team. The site may also contain links to affiliate websites, and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you on the affiliate website using such links. The Project Manager’s success can be evaluated based on how close to on time and on/under budget the project was finished. Based on the differences between а program, а project, and a product, the differences between program managers, project managers, and product managers become more clear. Introverted Marketer. Programs … It’s a good distinction, but more often I’ve seen the role of program manager be describer as a product owner. Start your search now on this startup guide. While program managers oversee an interconnected group of projects, project managers manage one individual project. Wee bit self-obsessed.”. Every effort has a planning phase. Product Manager Vs Project Manager Vs Program Manager. Posted on December 3, 2018; Posted in Product Management; Product Manager is one of the highly sought roles today in the IT industry. Project Management consists of risk management, resource management and scope management. The toughest part is to manage the scope of the project. Once the work is scheduled, they make sure things stay on track and figure out mediations if they go wrong. Understanding the distinctions between these roles can help you decide what you want to be. The Product vs. Project vs. Program managers are administrators who work out of an office and manage a variety of jobs and managerial tasks. In startups, Product Managers are expected to handle Project Management as well sometimes. Their focus is on the strategy and implementation of the entire program and thus the responsibilities go far beyond the completion of individual projects, so as to focus on the long-term implications of the program. Project Management is all about time, cost and quality and the constant trade-offs that have to be decided to keep the project going. And if you are interviewing for one of these roles, it’s easy to think you know what the job is about — only to be wrong. I have held the Program Manager title at Microsoft as well as the Product Manager title at Kickstarter. Scope, schedule, and resources all apply to both programs and projects although the planning is conducted at different levels. The titles mean different things at different organizations. So, if you are interviewing for one of these roles and don’t understand the job description, ask. Movie and TV Geek by nature. Project managers ensure the … Project managers oversee a fixed project from beginning to end. Despite there being literally only a smattering of letters difference between product vs project manager, there is, in fact, a massive gap in roles and responsibilities between these two jobs. PMI has defined 9 unique project management KAs required to manage projects and programs. Generally, a program consists of many interrelated projects and hence Project Managers report to Program Managers. “PM” is a confusing abbreviation. Do you seek more creativity and outside interaction, or are you focused and logical? We recommend that you use your own judgement and consult with your own consultant, lawyer, accountant, or other licensed professional for relevant business decisions. It continues to confuse people, I assume because they sound similar. The role of a Program Manager is slightly different in technology companies. Product, Project and Program Manager for its long-term business. Product Manager vs Project Manager vs Program Manager. Program: A program is a group of projects that are aligned with a company goal. A Project Manager is responsible for a project and creates the project plan, allocates assignments, keeps track of the progress and challenges faced and reports them to the concerned stakeholders. I currently work as Director of Product at Lola Travel. Here is how I break the three roles down: Product ManagerThe Product Manager title comes from another historical idea – the Consumer Product Goods (CPG) role of “Brand Manager”. Every business needs all three i.e. The most complete project management glossary for professional project managers. To summarise, Product Managers focus on What and Why of a product. The answer to this question should be more about what you are looking for from the role. The role of a project manager versus a product manager can be confusing, as many of their responsibilities can overlap. If you are looking to be a great product manager or owner, create brilliant strategy, and build visual product roadmaps — start a free trial of Aha! They are: Integration, Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Resources, Communication, Risk and Procurement. While they are still a central point of contact, their interactions with other roles (like Product Planners) are less frequent than with Engineers. Still, experience — my own and that of my colleagues — has taught me that some distinctions are fairly universal. above as your baseline, and ask how it applies (or not) to the job at hand. What Is Remarketing And How Does It Work. Every business needs all three i.e. They define the various projects that need to be completed to reach the final goal. Program Manager Role Confusion “PM” is a confusing abbreviation. He decided to use the Program Manager title to fill that gap. The result is that engineers might make more decisions about specific features, like error cases. Product Managers have to evaluate the customer needs and develop a solution that addresses these needs, with the help of various teams in the organization. He viewed himself as the voice of the customer and started writing functional specifications. So when somebody says “program manager vs project manager”, tell them that those two terms are synonyms. Let’s find out what the differences between them are. When that occurs, the Program Manager, Product Manager, and/or Technical Lead often fill the gap. Tell us what you think of this article on Product Manager vs Program Manager vs Project Manager in the comments section. This was very upsetting as a “she” perusing a job in these fields. Project ManagerProject Managers are responsible for execution. It can refer to (at least) three distinct roles: the Product Manager, the Project Manager, and the Program Manager. They think about how to take a large-scale project and turn it into manageable tasks. Here, the distinction is made between product manager vs. program manager, rather than project manager vs. program manager. This is also a good time to check out the top 9 courses for product management. The Project Management Institute offers classes and certifications for Project Managers, including the PMP. Product Vs Program Vs Project Manager; Product Vs Program Vs Project Manager. In startups, Product Managers are expected to handle Project Management as well sometimes. Product Guy. What is a project manager? It can refer to (at least) three distinct roles: the Product Manager, the Project Manager, and the Program Manager. Learn how your comment data is processed. Product Manager vs Project Manager vs Program Manager: Tech Roles Explained As a Google PM, I have a good view of the differences between the tech roles of Product Manager, Program Manager and Project Manager. This allows the team to have an expert in each area and a close relationship with adjacent teams. Both project management and product management disciplines involve working directly with clients and collaborating with a team to … The Product Manager has to ensure that his product delivers more value than the competition and is able to build a sustainable competitive advantage. These are familiar roles to people yet few seem to know what sets them apart from each other, even in the industry. When choosing between a career as a product manager or project manager, one of the topics that comes up is product manager vs project manager salary. Project managers own the budget, delivery, resources, capacity and collaboration in a project. You are probably familiar with the “elevator pitch.” You know, the one-minute speech every seasoned salesperson has memorized to deliver at a moment’s notice. Their job is to execute the strategy set by the product manager or leadership team. Product managers are strategic and focused on the product and its life cycle. In many small companies, there is usually no dedicated Project Manager. The Difference Between Program Manager, Project Manager, and Product Manager. Product Managers define strategic business objectives which lead to different projects. Program Manager specifications often have more detail than Product Manager specifications. Maybe it was an urgent phone call or an email flagged as “high priority.” The pressure of a countdown.…, the Consumer Product Goods (CPG) role of “Brand Manager”, The Best Cover Letters That CEOs Love to Read, Stop Being so Fixated on Your Next Job Title, New Marketing Managers — Do These 8 Things in the First 30 Days. These roles all have different histories and slightly different responsibilities. They are also more likely to manage details, like how to handle error cases. But you wouldn’t know it based on some job descriptions out there. In spite of being very different roles, it is astonishing how people everywhere seem to confuse between a Product Manager, Project Manager and Program Manager. Project Management vs Program Management. However, our research is meant to aid your own, and we are not acting as licensed professionals. to get by. A Project Manager is responsible for delivering a project that meets its requirements on-time, on-budget, and to the required degree of quality. A Program Manager needs to be a visionary and should know how the various initiatives will impact the business. Thus, the project manager vs program manager dynamic is in place. This role is most valuable in large companies, or with projects that include a lot of dependencies. Has it ever happened to you that after you've left ... Read more, 6 Basic UX Design Skills Every Product Manager Should Have, Top 10 Metrics Every Product Manager Should Know & Track, Transitioning Into Product Management From Other Roles, The Roles And Responsibilities Of A Product Manager, What Is A Business Model? For me, this is easier than most people make it out to be. Product Manager vs project manager: the Brainmates perspective. For the Product Manager to be successful, he needs to work with different folks and teams across the organization efficiently. The first challenge in differentiating the role of Project Manager or a Product Manager is that (as well as having the same initials) they sound a lot alike. Both product and program managers must master their unique KAs and manage the activities and deliverables associated with them in order to successfully complete their products or programs. The Difference Between a Program Manager and a Project Manager A program manager manages multiple projects, and sometimes multiple programs while a project manager manages the teams responsible for fulfilling the project and achieving its deliverables. Since the scope of this role is more broad, detail-level product specifications are sacrificed sometimes. I considered doing so myself in the past and know a few people who actually have.…, Trepidation. Ellen Chisa is Director of Product Management and Design at Lola Travel. Out and out foodie. It is crucial to clarify what each role means at each specific organization — before you accept one of them. Also Read: Top 10 Metrics Every Product Manager Should Know & Track. Generally, Project Managers are people who have moved to a managerial role over time after gaining significant expertise as an individual contributor in the field. You can often think of them as technical Product Managers. Pop-culture junkie. But so do flower and flour or genes and jeans. Since the Program Manager typically lives in Engineering, they are also often insulated from the financial and services sides of the company. To read more of her writing, follow her on Twitter. She attended Harvard Business School and was a Product Manager at Kickstarter and Program Manager at Microsoft. Having the same person perform all the roles does justice to neither role, as the focus of Project Management is internal and tactical and the focus of Product Management is customer centricity. Feedough is the one-stop resource for everything related to startups. Product Manager vs Project Manager: A Product Manager is ultimately responsible for making sure that her product is as successful as possible both short-term tactically and long-term strategically. Our philosophy is to research, curate, and provide the best startup feeds and resources to help you succeed in your venture. He has to coordinate time, budget and resources effectively to complete the project on time. Whereas a product manager generally focuses straight ahead on all of the elements needed to strategically drive her products forward, a program manager takes more of … They are responsible for the entire product, from its design to its development to its production. Product Managers are responsible for the product life-cycle, right from gathering and prioritising the requirements and defining the product vision to the final sales of the product. Product vs. Project I believe her comparison perfectly encapsulates an important … The Program Manager’s success is evaluated based on if reliable and usable software is delivered for the release. Brand Managers were responsible for the success of a given product line. Although a product manager generally comes out on top of this. Yes, I get it that they sound similar. Complementary roles indeed, but distinct at the same time. Ultimately, Product Managers pitch in wherever is needed to increase the likelihood of success. They knew that brand managers’ deep sense of product knowledge and ownership could carry over from consumer to technology — and it did. While these terms are mostly found in the world of technology, you can find them in diverse fields such as marketing and manufacturing as well. Product Managers are responsible for sitting at the intersection of Design, Technology, and Business. Most organizations have separate positions for each. So while the role is less tactical or administrative than that of a Project Manager, the stakes are higher as the success of the program as a whole lies on the shoulders of the Program Manager. Understanding Project and Program: A project is a singular effect that is focused on a concept or product while a program consists of several projects that fall under the same department. Companies with this approach tend to view a program manager as a more technically-focused counterpart of the product manager, who is responsible for guiding the creation of the actual code that will form the solution. We spend a lot of time researching and writing our articles and strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content. Product Manager vs Project Manager - what's the difference? We own the success of a product throughout its whole lifecycle. But that also depends a lot on the size of the business. There can be multiple projects within the life-cycle of a product. In Agile development processes, the Project Manager is often called the Scrum Master. Hey Sourobh, nice article. Project Managers have to manage all the risks in the project and mitigate them. Their work in this context was so successful that when the software market expanded in the 80s, tech firms recruited brand managers to oversee products. When you see something that needs doing, such as a software bug fix or creating a piece of content, the task is completed, and then it’s over. She also teaches Product Management for Olin College and General Assembly. It has a life-cycle – it is ideated, developed, introduced, marketed and even retired. They often rely on other teams to get advice on the competitive landscape and other external forces. Project: A project is a temporary task or a group of tasks that are performed to create a unique product or service. Product Managers focus on What and Why of a product. Such companies view this role as a Technical Product Manager and thus expect familiarity with the underlying technologies used. The right question to ask is for product manager vs project manager. We are currently ranked as the 15th best startup website in the world and are paving our way to the top. There are a couple of other roles like Project Manager or Program Manager … Product, Project and Program Manager for its long-term business. The Project Manager is responsible for breaking work down. The technical program manager helps to ensure that the flow of information between the Product Manager, the Project Manager, and the Engineers from different stacks are … The product manager sets the vision for the product that needs to be built, gathers requirements, and prioritizes them, while the project manager acts upon this vision and makes sure that it is executed on time and on budget. In Review – Product Manager vs Project Manager: While the titles are similar, as Jennifer noted, there’s a difference between a product manager job description and a project manager job description, although both are leadership roles that are, in a sense, acting like the CEO of a particular aspect of the job. But that also depends a lot on the size of the business. Since people are trained in a specific discipline before getting into Product Management, they are often stronger in one area but know enough of the others (Engineering, Marketing, etc.) The Program Manager vs. the Project Manager “Program is to a project as product line is to a product.” One of our Customer Success teammates at Aha! This involves figuring out what to build based on customer needs and making sure it gets shipped. The position of a Program Manager differs from company to company and from industry to industry. What are you waiting for? Strong Product Management teams have a variety of backgrounds. I have also seen friends in all three roles at different organizations get lost as they tried to discern what they should be doing. Project management is the more tactical of the three. Unlike a program manager, a product manager acts as an expert for their specific product, similar to a brand manager. A program will rely more on a rolling plan, as multi-year programs will need to adjust their plans as the business changes. The “PM” is a slightly confusing abbreviation. Program Managers focus on How of a product. These roles all have different histories and slightly different responsibilities. The key difference between the product manager vs Project Manager is that the Product Manager deals with “what”, while the Project Manager is in charge of the “how” The Product Manager should be in charge of managing the feature requests, creating requirements, managing backlogs and other important responsibilities with “what” the organization is building. All these roles differ from each other in their histories and responsibilities. Projects are, essentially, just basic solutions to basic issues; they fill in the gaps that need to be filled. Due to its origin, the Program Manager role is nearly always technical and relates to programming. They are removed from the “What do we build?” question so they can focus on, “How do we build it?” They live in the world of budgets and schedules. Knowing the basics will get you closer to the one that’s the best fit for you. A project manager is also referred to as a program manager in many organisations. Did we miss something? Project Managers focus on When of a product. Product: A product is anything that satisfies an existing demand in the market. Project … It can be a single project or a group of projects. Come on! This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. They own the product strategy, its ideation, its features, its releases and even its profit-and-loss. Program Managers are likely to get a little closer to how things are implemented. Project managers are more tactical, focusing on the execution side of the project’s life cycle. It can mean at least three different roles- first is the product manager, second is the project manager, and the third one is a program manager. 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