Even business degree holders frequently confuse project management with operation management. After all, both are planned, executed, and controlled by people with limited amount of resources. While some might be tempted to use these terms interchangeably, it would be wise to learn what exactly separates these two equally important functions.
What is project management?
To truly understand the definition of project management, you need to first define what a project is. According to the business dictionary, a project is a set of interconnected tasks which are executed over a fixed period and within a specified budget. In short, a project is considered unique and temporary and might be performed by a group of people who usually don’t work together (i.e. interdepartmental).
Therefore, project management is the application of skills, knowledge, techniques, and tools to meet the project’s requirements. For this reason, project management mainly focuses on scope, time, quality, cost, integration, procurement, human resources, risk management, communications, and stakeholders.
Once the project’s objective is achieved, the project team would dissolve, and its members would return to their normal tasks.
What is operations management?
Operations management is more concerned with the day-to-day activities of a business or an organization. It is defined as the administration of good business practices by converting raw materials such that they yield the highest level of goods and services efficiently and maximize the company’s profit.
The goal of operation management is to ensure that business operations use the least amount of resources required to meet (or exceed) customer’s requirements and expectations. Unlike project management, operations management’s output is repetitive and would simply adopt a new set of objectives (i.e. larger profit margin) once the previous objectives are achieved.
Why people are getting confused
Project management and operations management are two sides of the same coin. Both require intense planning and organization of the company’s resources to achieve a goal. As such, these two functions often intersect with each other, especially during the development of new products or services, upgrade of a product, maximization of product output, or the phase-out of a product. These two functions also intersect when the organization sets to improve its operations.
Just think of it this way: project management will always be a part of operations management, but never the other way around.
Key differences between project managers and operations managers
As aforementioned, both project management and operations management utilize a great deal of planning when it comes to resources. Operations managers are responsible for recruiting and managing staff. They are also responsible in assigning capable employees to be part of a project. While they might oversee a project, they don’t necessarily focus on it.
Unlike project managers whose sole purpose is to oversee and report situations that might affect a project’s successful completion within the set time frame, operations managers are more concerned with ensuring that the whole organization is performing efficiently.
In addition, an operations manager bears more responsibility when it comes to managing the organization’s budget. This means creating a budget that includes employee salaries, overhead costs, and other company expenses. On the other hand, a project manager is only concerned with the allotted budget for their assigned project and whatever revenues that project might generate.
While there are key differences between the two roles, neither can achieve success in business if they don’t work together. Project managers will fail if they don’t get the required resources and support from the operations manager. In a similar manner, an operations manager needs a project manager to ensure the quality of the project and guarantee the projected profit needed to keep the company running.
Tools required for managing a business
Whether you are a project manager or an operations manager, you would need a lot of help to keep track of everything that happens within your area. The fastest way to do this is to document every process and operating procedure your business has. Documentation also helps clearly define the functions of both the operations manager and project manager (as well as the staff). Yet, this is easier said than done as proper documentation takes a lot of manpower, skill, and time.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools and services that you can take advantage of to help you get more in control and achieve consistency within your organization. Online tools are also available to help you quickly capture and monitor your organization’s processes and procedures, with the goal of improving its quality.
Let us help you
Proceso.pro offers a user-friendly management tool that aids both managers and employees in assigning, executing, and reviewing tasks pertinent to growing the business. Our services also help managers obtain valuable knowledge on specific operational areas that eventually help us standardize and improve the organization’s workflow, increase an employee’s productivity, and guarantee the quality of work being done to achieve the company’s goals.
Whether you are tasked to manage operations or projects, Proceso.pro is the perfect business management partner for all your needs. Visit the site today.