Why Do a Lot of Product Managers End Up Being Project Managers

Product Management
February 2, 2023
4 mins read

Product manager and Project manager, these two often confusing words have vital roles to play in a company. The reason for the confusion is obvious because the two terms are regularly utilized reciprocally. They both work closely with a very thin line between them. The difference comes in the discipline where they are required with a different set of skills and tools.

The Product manager drives the improvement of the Product. They organize activities and settle on vital choices about what gets manufactured. They are considered as the driving force of a product offering and spotlight on business destinations, quantifiable objectives, and positive results.

Whereas project managers manage recently endorsed and created plans. They oversee timeline and assets to complete things — however, have little contribution to characterize and organize tasks.

Where their roles are completely different in terms of their objectives then “Why do a lot of Product managers end up being Project managers?” In this blog, we are citing a few reasons for this “WHY”?

1. Company Culture

It is observed that many organizations assign these roles separately yet at the same time total dynamic isn’t given to the Product managers. The company follows a top-down chain of command. The authority to take major decisions still holds with the top chief and not with the one who is developing it. This creates conflict in the ideas, hence the performance gets affected. It is also observed that to reduce these conflicts in ideas and performance, the company assigns these two roles to one single person. But the question arises that is there any better way of doing it?

Conflicts in point of view

2. Ineffective use of time

Following the traditional culture, Product managers waste most of their time writing product documents. We can’t stress enough about defining your plans and product. But is it even worthy of wasting time on writing long documents? Is there any alternative way to convey your solutions in the form of requirements in a short yet effective way? Well, the problems we counter are many but the solution to this is a “CHANGE”. CHANGE in the system and the culture we follow. “RAZORPAY” is the best example to support this statement. They have been developing great products by avoiding the traditional PRD approach. How this has helped them can clearly be seen in the success of their products. If this concept excites you enough then you can check the following link to this blog.

How Razorpay is building great products by avoiding traditional PRD approach

3. Focus on WHY and WHAT?

Once figured out the effective use of time, the product manager can now focus more on the “WHY,s” of the product along with the “WHAT,s”. Often Product managers end up wasting most of their time in writing the requirements. Where in the process they forgets about the problem associated and the solutions to the same. A product manager ideally should be focusing on and researching more about the Problem. Why did the problem arise? For whom are we making the product? What can be a more Intuitive, user-friendly, and valuable solution to the problem? So to make the product more effective, the solution by the product manager should revolve around these factors.

4. Lack of mentors

There is not enough guidance about Product management. Most of the people who enter this field are newbies. The profile is already so chaotic that most of the time goes into understanding and sorting the chaos. There are not enough mentors to tell you about the loopholes for this management. The only source of inspiration and learning is self-exploring and reading others’ experiences.

5. Loosing the focus

The objective matters a lot. For many companies the objective shifts towards the speed of the work rather than the quality of the work. It should be ensured that the solution is effective enough to solve the real problem. The product can only be successful if the objective is clear, the problem is addressed with an effective solution.

Can both the roles be handled by a single person?

If we look into the roles, there are a few likenesses between these two. Both are cross-practical, interfacing with different gatherings inside the bigger association and their partners. The Product manager looks up for “What” and “Why” whereas the Project Manager looks up for “How” and “When”.

The job becomes more challenging for both of them because the work has to be carried out in a synced and aligned manner. Both can’t work separately hence collaboration among both is an important task.

Product Management vs Project Management


Differentiating them on the type of work they do, their objectives, their skills, or the tools they use, we should not forget to consider the incredible coupling of both the roles. They both form the powerful duo in terms of dealing with the stakeholders and carrying out the project process smoothly in a collaborative manner. If both are being addressed appropriately then this duo can bring profits and more profits to your business.


Mahima Arora
Associate Product Marketer at Zeda.io.
A marketing enthusiast, trying to influence society by means of media and drive sustainable good.
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