Ganapathy Subramanian, a PMP, raised a discussion in the Project Managers forum as one of his blog readers raised a strong argument on the way Project management is done in Product companies Vs Service Companies.
Today IT industry is one of the core revenue generating industry for any country. Here what we build are not just services though we are still considered as part of the larger service industry. We are today developing applications that are becoming Products...that can be reused, customized and maintained over a longer period of time. Products always had a upper hand in the global market for they had a defined shape and features... where as most of the projects we handle today are customized with the focus on the client requirements, budgetary constraints, resources availability and infrastructure sustainability.
Yet, the management point of view of both the Products as well as Projects stand with the same ethical values of any business and contains the processes dominating the way the activities need to be performed to gain predominant success in any business today.
Being both a Management graduate and also a certified PMP, I wanted to put forward my thoughts on how the integration of Product Management and Project Management is quite essential in today's world.
1. Project Management is not limited to IT industry alone... The defined process and structure of handling the risks, resources, revenue and requirements can be matched with the needs of the Product companies as well.
2. Product Management in turn may contain multiple project activities that can be subdivided as different Projects and Phases and handled appropriately for better micro management of challenges that arise in any business.
3. Product Management also has corresponding business functions like initiating ( Ideas for products, conceptualization, identifying the vision and finances, time lines etc ), planning ( procurement, acquiring basic infrastructure, resources, risk assessment, government licenses ), Execution ( Actual development of the product, manufacturing), Monitoring & Control ( Handling quality assurance and control, market demand, planning the sales and distribution, advertising, packaging, publishing and finally delivering, audits, reporting, press releases and tax filing), and Closing (Service warranty, after sales support, further volumes production, planning for next phases etc)....the only difference may be that at the closing stage... the activities move from a Project scenario to Operation scenario.. this is almost in parallel to what happens in IT industry too.... so very well we can say that Product Management and Project Management can go hand in hand...
4. The Bigger question is "Then why do we need Project Management in Product Management"????
The answer is Project Management gets a higher focus on the certain key areas that are considered to management- three key R factors.... Risks, Resources and Revenue. Any business today aims at profits and lessening of the overheads or expenses. Today 90% of government projects spend more than they plan... or if they are forced to cut on the budgets, the end result would be low quality products... The best way is to bring in more qualified Project Managers who have knowledge on how to control these ext regencies and bring in a more focused way of handling issues from the beginning so that projects can be run on the planned budgets with specified quality. Ultimately... this would result in better Product Quality.
Just like how a Solution Architect helps a Project Manager on the technical aspects of a software application, a Project Manager can help a Product Architect in bringing in good products in the industry,...be it any..including construction, manufacturing, finance, human resources, health care management or electronics and equipment industry.... that is exactly the growing need of right Project Managers to make projects go green today to avoid cost failures..budgetary overruns,,..and sustainability of profits in an otherwise challenging competitive industry...IT is just a beginning......