Projects vs. Products

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Projects are the way that most new work gets delivered. Projects can be managed using a common set of project management processes. For instance, all projects should be defined and planned, and all projects should have processes to manage scope, risk, quality, status, etc.
Products on the other hand, are tangible items that are produced by a project. Project management can be thought of as a process. A product is delivered by a project. Product management is an approach for centrally coordinating the activities surrounding the long-term support and enhancement of a product. The person that executes these responsibilities is called a Product Manager.
The role of a Project Manager is to plan and manage a project. The role of a Product Manager is focused on the long-term support of the product within the organization. The product management role includes the following responsibilities.
Product Planning
  • Coordinate product issues
  • Primary contact with the product vendor
  • Monitor product direction with the vendor
  • Determine which components of the product should be used 
  • Coordinate testing of new products and releases
  • Determine when a product is production-ready based on testing and pilot projects
  • Coordinate certification of new products and releases
Financial Management
  • Coordinate product contracts, purchase agreements, and maintenance agreements
  • Ensure that budget is available for product purchases and maintenance
Product Implementation and Deployment
  • Coordinate development of a product deployment plan
  • Manage deployment of the product or new releases
  • Track product inventory (where the product has been deployed)
  • Receive ongoing requests from the staff for individual product deployment
Product Release Management
  • Decide when to upgrade the product to new version
  • Plan and manage new release implementation
Product Retirement
  • Determine when product needs to be retired
  • Plan and manage product retirement
This process covers a product from its inception until the product is no longer viable.


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