Product Manager Vs. Project Manager

Product Managers and Project Managers are probably the two most roles that come with huge confusion.

If asked any Project Manager about the number of times they have been addressed as Product Manager and vice versa, you will understand their frustrations.

Despite both of these roles having similar-sounding titles, it requires cooperative efforts and considerable responsibilities.

To eliminate the confusion and understand the differences, today, we will have a look at both the designations.

When a person is addressed with a different designation, it can potentially lead to several conflicts. Vast and in-depth knowledge is required to understand better the responsibilities, like who is responsible for managing the product backlog? Who will decide and assess the product roadmap? Will Project managers pay attention to customer needs or execution? Will the product managers take up a hands-on approach or the strategic role?

As both roles have an important role in an organization, chances are there that they would intersect. Therefore having specific knowledge of the roles and the responsibilities can simplify the conflicts along with offering a better understanding of their avenue.

Therefore, in this article, we will pay attention to each and every detail in specific. The breakdown of the roles and responsibilities, skills, and technical aspects will aid in having comprehensive knowledge. Keep reading to learn the details.

Product vs. Project

Even when both project and product are the most commonly used terms in our lives, even in the professional meeting, theoretically, these are two different concepts. Therefore, let us take a look by checking the formal meaning of both.


A Product is the physical good, service, or software that has been designed to suffice the needs of people. There is no exact definition available about the deliverable.

Instead, this is something that has consistent development until they can satisfy the customers' requirements.

If compared with a project, the product is permanent. A product is a living entity. It tends to develop with passing time, interacts with the people, takes the desired form after maturing, and then retires. This is, therefore, clear that every product comes with a specific lifecycle. This comprises its advent, growth, maturity, and lastly, decline.


Project, on the other hand, is a step involved in product creation. To be more specific, generally, a project’s life cycle is divided into five different stages. This includes commencement, planning, executing, monitoring, and assessing.

A project is temporary which has been created to achieve an outcome within the definite timeline. Therefore, project managers have the knowledge of when and what is to be delivered.

With a product, there is one goal and, i.e., to eliminate the chances of decline. Therefore, this is a need for the product development team to start projects that would help make them become better and expand by increasing their product offerings.

To make it simple, here is what we have chalked out in short.

Tasks Services / Physical goods / Software
Based on timeline Permanent until declined
Defined result Continuously evolving
Short Terms Long Term
5 Stage of Lifecycle 4 Stages of lifecycle
Focuses on the Steps Focuses on its Outcomes

Now that you have got some idea about the project and product let us check the differences between the different job roles.

Product Manager vs. Project Manager

Product Manager

Product Managers are also the CEO of the product line. They manage the entire product from its commencement to the end product. They have the responsibility of creating product strategy and product development.

They understand users' needs, and therefore they translate them into their product and head the development team to make an MVP or the Minimum Viable Product.

Every product manager works with a vision in mind for their products which they transfer to everyone available with the team or organization.

They keep the wire between the companies by maintaining the communication. Their indulgence is everywhere, from designing and development to sales and marketing to customer support.

What makes a product manager unique is their unparalleled sense of the product. Just like Spider-man could easily sense danger with the tingling sensations similarly, a product manager is the one who can understand when the product is ready.

Be it their experience or education - a product manager can somehow say when the product is ready to launch or when a product has lost its charm and needs to be removed.

Project Manager

On the other hand, a Project Manager is a professional who pays more attention to the steps and tasks as they are mainly focused on execution. They are responsible for breaking down the plans strategized into actionable tasks.

They keep clear KPIs and are mostly into supervising one or many projects from their commencement until their delivery.

They work by keeping in mind the demands of the company. They are also responsible for risk management as they can identify and minimize the potential risks.

The role of a project manager mainly involves the execution of strategies and vision which the product head or team has conveyed.

They are responsible for developing the timeline, allocating the resources to the capable members, and offering an actionable plan to be able to get the work done within time and budget.

So, to cut-short, project managers are responsible for the quality, time, and budget.

“Product managers chalk out the strategies for improving the product development whereas the Project Managers take care of an effective and efficient execution.”

Roles and Responsibilities

Now that you have checked the definition of Product and project managers, you certainly have got an in-depth idea. With the explanation made above, here we have written the roles of each professional.

Functions of Product Manager

  • Define the product vision and strategy
  • Product release decision
  • Bring idea about future product development
  • Conduct comprehensive research
  • Propose product features upon understanding the needs of the users
  • Create and maintain the product roadmap
  • Communicating the product vision to the stakeholders

Functions of Project Manager

  • Breaking the big project into small tasks
  • Allocate the resources and budget involved
  • Decide the timeline
  • Resolve the underlying issues
  • Keep thorough documentation of the progress
  • Achieve project milestones within the strict deadline
  • Analyze the risks and manage them
  • Quality control
  • Estimate the ROI and convey them to stakeholders

Product Manager vs. Project Manager Similarities

Even when both the names sound somewhat similar, the responsibilities and roles are pretty much different from each other. But there are again some similarities that lead to confusion.

Both Project Manager and Product Manager can have an influence on the timeline, budget, and scope. This does not mean that they manage, but they have the impact.

Therefore both of the strong position holders and have huge responsibilities in managing the ROI.

Product Manager and Project Manager Job Titles

Product Manager Job Titles

Lately, more companies have started recognizing the importance of product management in business function. This has therefore resulted in creating a hierarchy in product management within organizations.

Keeping aside some of the unorthodox titles that can be widely available, we will majorly focus on the standard titles accepted throughout the industry.

Since the product managers are interconnected with the business, design, and tech team, they are generally given some of these titles.

  • Technical Product Manager
  • Product Marketing Manager
  • Analytics Product Manager
  • Product Growth Manager

Project Manager Job Titles

Even when project managers are a common professional in every organization, their titles are not pretty simple. Their names depend on the nature of business, HR executives, or the marketplace.

Project Managers are most commonly found in the IT/Software industry, insurance fields, construction industry, designing, and engineering industries.

They are mostly called with the titles:

  • Team Assistant
  • Stage Manager
  • Implementation Manager

Irrespective of the industry, they are generally categorized into three sects: entry-level, supporting role, and executive role. Under these three job roles, they are given multiple titles depending on the company and their niche.

Eventually, keeping aside the job titles, we were solely trying to convey the job description. Now that you have acquired a full-fledged idea on both the job titles, you will hopefully be able to choose as per your specialization.

However, before applying, make sure you are reading the job description so that you choose correctly.

Product Manager Certifications vs. Project Manager Certifications

If you are looking forward to becoming a Product Manager or a Project Manager, you can find several certification programs for both. You need to choose effectively to be able to carry a job role in the best manner.

There are several project management certifications depending on the experience, knowledge, and skill required for the personnel to manage the things.

Similarly, you can choose from the wide range of product manager certifications available to become a pro in managing projects.

You must be aware that since both careers have different paths, the certification you choose must be specific to the role you wish and desire to have a career in. Always bear in mind that the skills required for both are widely apart from each other.


No doubt that a Project Manager and a Product Manager are the two most confusing yet the most potent designation in an organization. Despite their differences, the respect, and responsibilities that both the job roles hold result in making a considerable contribution to an organization. So, select a path and work accordingly to enjoy a career of your choice.

Curated by-

Ms. Mahima Garg

She is a technology enthusiast and an author who is passionate about ideation, planning, implementing, integrating, and managing business processes for business growth. This led her and the team to build a Global IT Certification and Preparation Platform for professionals which help them get certified and enhance their career growth. With 20+ years of experience in IT and Management, she believes to impart what she has learned in her exciting career.

Subscribe to Newsletter and Get Voucher Updates, Mock Tests Updates, and More!