Product Versus Project Management A Definition

For all practical purposes, there is no basic difference between program management and project management. But what about product management? Project management and product management are similar, with one major exception: The project manager focuses on the end date of his project, whereas the product manager is not willing to admit that his product line will ever end. The product manager wants his product to be as long-lived and profitable as possible. Even when the demand for the product diminishes, the product manager will always look for spin-offs to keep his product alive.

Figure 2-10 shows the relationship between project and product management. When the project is in the R&D phase, a project manager is involved. Once the product is developed and introduced into the marketplace, control is taken over by the product manager. In some situations, the project manager can become

Figure 2-10. Organizational chart.

the product manager. Both product and project management can, and do, exist concurrently within companies.

Figure 2-10 shows that product management can operate horizontally as well as vertically. When a product is shown horizontally on the organizational chart, the implication is that the product line is no big enough to control its own resources full-time and therefore shares key functional resources similarly to project management. If the product line were large enough to control its own resources full-time, it would be shown as a separate division or a vertical line on the organization chart.

Also shown in Figure 2-10 is the remarkable fact that the project manager (or project engineer) is reporting to a marketing-type person. Should executives permit project managers and project enginee to report to a marketing-type individual even if the project entails a great amount of engineering? Many executives today would attest that the answer is "yes." The reason for this is that technically oriented project leaders get too involved with the technical details of the project and lose insight into when and how to "kill" a project. Remember, most technical leaders have been trained in an academic rather than a business environment. Their commitment to success often does not take into account suc important parameters as return on investment, profitability, competition, and marketability.

To alleviate these problems, project managers and project engineers, especially on R&D-type project; are now reporting to marketing so that marketing input will be included in all R&D decisions. Many executives have been forced into this position because of the high costs incurred during R&D, especially since, in case of a severe need to reduce costs, the R&D organization is usually the first to feel the pinch. Executives must exercise caution with regard to this structure in which both product and project managers report to the marketing function. The marketing executive could become the focal point of the entire organization, with the capability of building a very large empire.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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