Product Manager vs. Project Manager: What's The Difference?
If you've heard the term "PM" tossed around as much as I have, you might've asked yourself whether the roles of product manager and project manager are actually interchangeable.
As fate would have it, they're not... but what the heck is the difference, anyway?
While both are crucial to executing on a company's goals and vision, people with different skillsets and interests might find themselves better suited to one role than the other.
Let's break it down.
Product Manager Responsibilities
High level, a product manager deals with the entire product lifecycle, from ideation to marketing and sales. The product manager is responsible for big-picture strategy: why do users need this product? what's the vision? what features will it offer? what benefits will it provide its users?
A product manager wants to build a product that users will love.
Project Manager Responsibilities
Alternatively, a project manager is a bit more focused on the nitty-gritty. They oversee a project (or projects) from start to finish, bringing to fruition the vision and strategy established by the product manager. They oversee the team of people required to complete the project, and deal with things like task delegation and budget.
A project manager wants to help the team reach a previously defined outcome (which could be any aspect of product development) on time and under budget.
So, Product Manager vs. Project Manager - What's the Consensus?
In a nutshell, the product manager deals more with the what and the why, and the project manager focuses on the how.
If you’re an account manager who’d love a company driven by creating a sustainable world, then watch the video to the end to learn how to thrive at Novelis.
Looking for a position as an account manager? Madeline Noll, senior account management specialist, alongside Eris Jackson and Syndi Holmes, account management specialists at Novelis, share their experiences with you!
For the account manager role, Novelis seeks dedicated individuals who can play a pivotal part in a sector that collaborates closely with industry giants like Toyota, Tesla, and Ford. If you're passionate about building strong customer relationships and driving business growth, this is the place for you.
As an account manager, you'll embark on a daily journey of connection and collaboration with customers. Your mission is understanding their unique needs and working in synergy to accomplish their objectives. This role offers a job and a chance to make a real difference in the automotive industry.
A typical day for an account manager
In the fast-paced world of automotive account management, your days run oh dynamic interactions. You'll engage in two to three daily meetings that require cross-functional coordination with various teams. These meetings serve as a platform for sharing updates and aligning efforts to meet customer demands. Novelis ensures seamless communication with its valued customers by keeping everyone informed about inventory levels and priorities.
Are you interested in joining Novelis? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Madeline Noll, Eris Jackson, and Syndi Holmes
If you are interested in a career at Novelis, you can connect with Madeline, Eris, and Syndi on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Novelis
Novelis is driven by its purpose to shape a sustainable world. As a global leader in innovative products and services and the world's largest recycler of aluminum, championing the vision of closed-loop recycling, they partner with customers in many industries to deliver extraordinary solutions that will delight their customers of today and tomorrow at a very fast pace.
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CallRail is here to bring complete visibility to marketers who rely on quality inbound leads to measure success. Their customers live in a results-driven world, and giving them a clear view of their digital marketing efforts is a first priority for CallRail. They see the opportunities in surfacing and connecting data from calls, forms, and beyond—helping customers get better outcomes.
My career has been largely shaped by two things: my passion for computers and being born with partial blindness. Math was always my favorite class, and I discovered my love for computer science early on – inspiring me to study electrical engineering in college and pursue my Master’s degree in software systems.
Even as a young student in India, I dreamed of a career on the cutting edge of technology. But I faced a daunting question: how would my disability affect my capabilities? Two decades later, I’ve learned (much to my surprise) that it’s what drove me forward. My disability not only empowered my career path, but it helped me discover my strengths, my passions, and who I am.
I discovered where my strengths can take me in my career
After working at tech companies in the U.S. for several years, my vision continued deteriorating until I became 90% blind. I needed to find a new way to support my family and continue the work I loved. After reflecting on my skills, I realized my disability is a unique set of capabilities, not a barrier. Once people with disabilities discover our own way to do something, nothing can stop us – especially when we have a vision.
Deciding where I wanted to take my career was the next step. When my wife and I moved back to India, she encouraged me to use my strong presentation and communications skills to teach. I designed a corporate training course for statistical machine learning – which brought the opportunity to travel across India and do what I love – but I was also charting a new course. I hadn’t seen anyone with my disability achieve the career I wanted before. It was important to me to become the role model I didn’t have growing up.
Inspired to give back, my wife and I founded an educational trust called the Karka Nirka Trust, dedicated to providing scholarships to children in rural India and building school facilities, like libraries and toilets. I also founded another startup that crowd sourced AI models and made them available to small companies, including My Third Eye, a tool that helps blind children move through the world using computer vision.
“Once people with disabilities discover our own way to do something, nothing can stop us – especially when we have a vision.”
I realized support empowered me to follow my dreams
In 2021, I was working at a well-known telecom company and couldn’t imagine opening another chapter in my career – until a Google recruiter asked me to interview for a role. While I was inspired to continue pursuing my passion for AI, I had my concerns. I wanted to make sure the recruiters understood my vision is 90% impaired, but they assured me Google hires people for their skills and encouraged me to apply.
I heard Google is supportive, but I was blown away by how empowering the interview process was. The Google recruiters asked what accommodations I needed, and I immediately realized how much the interview process was designed to help me succeed. Recruiters offered to extend interview times and encouraged me to use a tablet and pen to write code because it’s easier than typing. I know we often hesitate in asking for accommodation but my experience with Google empowered me to give my best and I thought of sharing a short video here to demystify the candidate accommodations at Google.
“The culture at Google makes me feel comfortable and empowered – nothing holds me back.”
After the interviews, I talked to nearly 20 Googlers across multiple teams to determine which AI initiatives interested me most. Google also recruited a full-time support assistant for me, who helps by accompanying me to meetings and providing context as I navigate the Google campus. I was touched to receive help I didn’t have to ask for. I knew the company was different, and I wanted to experience what it meant to be a Googler.
I found new ways to bring my love for Gen AI to Cloud
Now as the AI lead on the Google Cloud team, I’m thrilled to be building the next generation of generative AI for Cloud and Workspace in India. When I joined the team a year ago, I saw how AI could help us reimagine customer experience – saving customers time while easing frustrations with a human experience. Today, our team is focused on innovating AI and ML solutions that will transform the Cloud customer experience. Our vision is to help as many people as possible by providing up-to-date information whenever they need it.
My team members care deeply about helping people, which extends to me as well. They accommodate my needs, like using black backgrounds for our presentations (which I can see more clearly!). Their thoughtfulness, along with a support assistant, has made it possible to tackle projects that inspire me every day.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to pursue my passion for gen AI at Google. It feels like something that was always meant to be.”
As my team and I chart new frontiers together, my approach to coaching and mentorship is closely tied to my personal experiences. I believe being transparent, vocalizing needs and finding new ways to use our strengths is the key to innovative thinking. That’s why Google is a great match for me. Every day I’m reminded that I have the support I need to further my career and be my authentic self – at work and beyond.