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The Difference Between Task Management & Project Management

written by: Jennifer Daniels • edited by: Carly Stockwell • updated: 2/11/2014

Project Managers and Task Managers are collaborators with a common end goal in mind. A task manager's job is a bit simpler because they only have to focus on the task, while the PM has to balance the entire project. PMs need to learn to delegate tasks effectively in order to succeed.

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    How Do You Eat an Elephant?

    Differentiating Between Project Management and Task Management One bite at a time.

    Any large job can be accomplished by breaking it down into manageable tasks. Project managers make huge, overwhelming jobs easier through training and experience. Project managers will analyze the data, manage the team, and sometimes have to be the bad guy. In the end, if the goal is met and the job is done, it is worth the effort.

    The role of product manager can be stressful, due to the responsibility of making it all come together, but they are trained to excel under pressure. Large projects can seem overwhelming at the start, and even experienced project managers can find themselves lost in the weeds, losing respect and group focus. When lost in the middle of a project, it can be hard to see the end goal.

    This is why it is important that project managers be able to effectively delegate tasks to specified Task Managers. This keeps them out of the weeds and focused on what they do best: completing projects. Meanwhile the task manager is able to focus on what they do best: the task at hand.

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    How Task Managers & Project Managers Can Work Together

    To get any job done you have to tackle a few, or a million, little things: Tasks!

    Task Managers handle the individual tasks within a project. Task Management is a job of collaboration. A task is project work broken down into the smallest unit. A project is composed of a series of tasks.

    Differences Between a Project and a Task

    • A project is temporary, a task is a part of a project or a daily duty.
    • A project manager is a boss and leader; a task manager is often seen as a collaborator and leader.
    • Project managers see the whole picture; task managers may see only the part applicable to the task at hand.

    If employees are busy accomplishing their individual tasks, they may resent a project manager butting in and restructuring things or telling them how to do their work. This can be handled with a bit of diplomacy and reminder of the larger goal at hand.

    If there is a personality clash between a valuable employee and a great PM, use it as incentive to accomplish the goal so they do not have to work together anymore. Once everyone realizes the PM is not there to babysit, but to lead the group of task managers and other employees to streamlined success, things will flow better.

References

  • What is Project Management? http://www.pmi.org/About-Us/About-Us-What-is-Project-Management.aspx
  • The Art of Project Management: How to Make Things Happen http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa480154.aspx