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Project Manager vs Product Manager
Many elements go into the process of creating and carrying out organizational initiatives. Project managers and product managers both play an important role in ensuring that these initiatives are carried out in accordance with the organizations objectives.
Although these positions may seem similar, comparing the jobs of project manager and product manager reveals that the role of a product manager is more strategic and the job of a project manager is more logistical and tactical.
What is a project manager?
Project managers begin their work during the planning stages of a project, and they continue to work through each logistical stage. This includes planning and defining the scope of a project, establishing schedules, bringing in staff and other necessary resources, and communicating with team members and stakeholders.
These professionals follow a project from start to finish, making sure everything goes according to plan.
Role and responsibilities of the project manager
Project managers work on projects at all stages, so they have defined responsibilities from start to finish to ensure their projects succeed. Project Manager responsibilities include the following.
- Establish parameters and manage every logistical element of a project. This can include planning, defining project scope, managing resources, executing various milestones, and closing the project.
- Monitor a project from start to finish to anticipate potential challenges in advance and resolve issues as they arise.
- Make sure a project is on budget. In doing so, project managers may need to reallocate funds to ensure funds are used effectively.
- Maintain effective communication with those involved in the project.
Requirements to become a project manager
Becoming a project manager requires in-depth knowledge of all the logistical aspects involved in delivering projects effectively and efficiently. As a potential project manager, you need to invest your time, energy, and money into a good training program so you can learn the fundamentals of the field.
Obtaining a project management certification is the best way to demonstrate your qualifications as a project manager. The Project Management Institute (PMI) administers the most common project management certifications.
PMI provides the Project Management Professional (PMP)® and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® designations. When comparing CAPM to PMP, note that CAPM is a more entry-level credential and PMP serves seasoned project managers.
Most project manager certification training programs require candidates to have a high school diploma, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree. Most also require a few or more years of project management experience. To earn your certification, you must pass a comprehensive exam covering project management principles.
Benefits of Project Manager Certification
Increased income potential
Is PMP certification worth it? For starters, earning PMP certification puts you in a higher income bracket compared to project management specialists who are not PMP certified. In fact, PMI conducted a salary survey and found that globally, the PMP certification salary is 16% higher than the median annual salary for non-certified project managers. In the United States, this wage difference climbs to 32%.
Advanced Job Opportunities
Project management certification can qualify you for higher-level jobs, as many advanced project management positions require PMP or other professional project management certification. The certification serves as proof of your knowledge and skills in the field. This demonstration of skills can create opportunities for well-paying jobs.
Improved project management skills
Project management certification programs can teach in-depth project management principles and advanced methodologies to help you improve your skills in the profession. The more you learn, the more effective you become as a project manager.
What is a Product Manager?
Product managers play a strategic role in product development as they develop a vision for the product and ensure that it effectively meets customer needs. These professionals establish guidelines to determine the success of a project. They also monitor updates to ensure progress is in line with the organization’s original goals and vision.
Role and responsibilities of the product manager
Product managers take on a broad but high-level role in product development. They ensure that a product develops according to its vision and meets the needs of the customers who will use it. The responsibilities of product managers are as follows.
- Create a product roadmap by determining what users need. Set priorities to determine when project elements should be built.
- Set defining metrics to help determine the success of a product.
- Monitor performance, changes, and new features to ensure the project stays within set parameters for success.
- Conduct market research and analysis to maintain a high quality product.
- Work with cross-functional teams to implement strategies that result in a successful product.
Requirements to become a product manager
If you want to become a product manager, start by learning as much as you can about the field. You should also expect to undergo some type of formal training when preparing for a career in product management.
Product managers come from a variety of educational backgrounds. A college degree isn’t necessary to work as a product manager, but many of these professionals have bachelor’s degrees in product management or similar fields. Some also have a master’s degree in product management or business administration.
Many types of product manager training programs are available online and in person. Some are aimed specifically at those who have just launched their careers in product management. You can even attend a product manager bootcamp, which is an intensive, comprehensive, short-term training program.
A product manager training program can result in a certificate of completion or certification. You don’t necessarily need this type of degree, but if you want to build a successful career as a product manager, you should plan to get certified eventually.
Common product manager certifications include the Certified Product Manager® certification from the Association of International Product Marketing and Management and the New Product Development Professional certification from the Product Development and Management Association.
Benefits of Working as a Product Manager
Optimistic job outlook
If you choose a career in product management, you choose great job prospects. Product manager positions are in high demand. A 2021 survey from Product School found that 43% of companies are hiring more product managers and 26% of product managers plan to leave their jobs in the next year. These statistics indicate a strong demand for product managers in the coming years.
Revenue growth potential
As a product manager, you can significantly increase your income as you gain experience. The average annual salary for product managers is just over $100,000, but salaries range from around $83,000 for someone with less than a year of experience to over $116,000 for someone having more than 10 years of experience.
Varied scope of work
Product managers have a variety of job responsibilities and work with many different groups of people. They have regular interactions with teams and individuals in engineering, research, design, analysis, marketing and sales.
Product management can be a great career option for you if you like working with other people and tackling a range of tasks every day. In other words, you are unlikely to get bored in this position.
Product Manager vs Project Manager: Similarities and Differences
How are they similar?
Both product managers and project managers work with teams and individuals to complete tasks to create the best outcome for organizations and their products. Both roles aim to achieve goals based on the goals set by an organization.
How are they different?
A product manager focuses on the overall scope of a product, such as establishing the product vision and ensuring it meets user needs. A project manager focuses more on the logistical elements of a project, such as planning, budgeting, and resource management.
A successful product meets the needs of a target audience or solves a common problem. A product can be anything from computer software to household items. A project, on the other hand, involves a series of individual steps and tasks. A completed project must lead to new methods, processes or systems.
Which is good for you?
Several factors should be considered when evaluating the career options of a project manager versus a product manager. If you like the idea of taking responsibility for setting new product parameters and ensuring products align with specific visions and goals from start to finish, you could enjoy a career in as product manager. If you prefer working with day-to-day logistics activities, project management might be a better career path for you.