What Are The Differences Between Project Management and Product Management?

      In today's, let's talk about something really important, that is the differences between project management and product management because there are still growing misconceptions in the market. A lot of people still think that Scrum is an agile project management methodology. Let's bust the myth because Scrum is a product management framework. If you're curious about the differences between project management and product management, stay tuned sit back and relax because I'll be back right after ... this. When comparing project management and product management, we must first compare the definition of project and product. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), a project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore the defined scope and resources. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a product is something that is made or grown to be sold or used. Based on that definition, we can now compare the project life cycle and the product life cycle. A product life cycle is generally longer than a project life cycle. The project life cycle starts when the organization initiated the project and it ends when it has reached the deadline that has been defined during the project initiation by the project members and the stakeholders. The end of the project life cycle is defined by the internal organization. A product life cycle starts when the product can be used by the user and it ends when the product is no longer sellable in the market. As you can see the end of the product life cycle is defined by the customers, that is when the customer no longer wants to use the product. 

      A project may have a goal to deliver a product or certain features in the product. It is possible that one product life cycle consists of several projects. It is also possible that a product life cycle is shorter than the project life cycle because the product has already died before the project even completed. Based on the differences between the project lifecycle and the product lifecycle we can now compare the success criteria of a project and the success criteria of a product. A project is deemed successful when it has been delivered on time, on the scope, and on budget. But the product is deemed successful when it is sellable and generates profit for the organization that created it. A product that is delivered on time, on scope, and on a budget may not necessarily be valuable for the customers and sellable in the market. A successful project may not necessarily deliver a successful product and if the product failed in the market the company actually already wasted a lot of money one known example here is Windows Phone 7, which is quite ambitious but it's not really sellable in the market. In the context of project management paying the technical debt in the middle of the project, the lifecycle is considered unnecessary because it will add more scope and it will make the project delivery late but in the context of product management paying technical debt is required as doing so will increase the value of the product. The case of Boeing 737s max is one of those examples where a company is more focused on the project triangle but neglected the technical debt in the code which has cost two airplanes crashed and caused death. 

      According to Scrum Guide, Scrum is a product management framework rather than a project management methodology. Scrum goes beyond just delivering a product, Scrum is about sustaining a product. The product backlog will keep growing as long as the product is still being used by the user. As the main focus of Scrum is to sustain the product, in Scrum we consider a project as one Product Backlog item (PBI) that has not yet been refined into smaller pieces. So you can say the Product Backlog can consist of several projects and the scope of Scrum is much broader than just projects. Therefore, the role of the product owner is actually much broader than the role of the project manager. The project managers or even the program managers work and report to the Product Owner. To be successful with Scrum organizations must use it as a product management framework rather than as a project management methodology. When using Scrum the organization's goal should be about making the product as valuable as possible in the market rather than just delivering it on time, on the scope, and on budget. Organizations should have a broader perspective to sustain the product as long as possible in the market. When the organization uses Scrum as a project management methodology, the Sprint in Scrum will look like a mini-waterfall. Mini- waterfall will demoralize the development team and it will make the development team suffer.

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